U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath stressed the importance of bipartisanship in Washington, D.C., at her June 8 town hall at Dunwoody High School, on everything from gun control to climate change.
But she was forced to tackle a very partisan issue when a woman who described herself as a “staunch” McBath supporter asked her why she was not calling for impeachment proceedings against President Trump.
“It troubles me to have to stand up and say that I’m concerned about that with you,” the woman said in the second question of the town hall. “All these children dying at the border … how long can you go before you stand up say the House has a job to do and you need to have hearings?”
McBath, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, said hearings are coming, but stressed there is a “tedious process” that must be followed. Most Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, are not publicly calling for impeachment. The impeachment process begins in the House, where a vote on an article of impeachment is taken. If a majority of the House approves an article of impeachment, the process then moves to the Senate where a trial is held. Many political experts agree a Republican-controlled Senate — where a two-thirds vote is needed to remove the president — would not vote to impeach Trump.
“I am absolutely furious about what is happening in this country. I am furious at the lack of accountability of this administration. I am furious about their inability to be forthcoming with the truth,” McBath answered.
The recent report from former special counsel Robert Mueller about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, McBath said, provides proof that there has been “obstructive behavior by this administration in concealing the truth.”
“However, I do have to say to you this is a process … I know everybody wants it to happen overnight, but there is a process we have to follow. That process is tedious,” she said.
McBath said Congress must learn what is included in the redacted portions of the Mueller Report to ensure “no one person, no entity is above the rule of law.”
“Of course we know there has been obstruction of justice,” McBath said.
“I am angry and I am upset,” she added. “We will get to the bottom of the truth. If it comes to a point of an impeachment inquiry, you can trust your representatives will do their jobs.”
McBath said she takes “no joy” in this process. “I don’t want to have to say this about our president of the U.S. and the White House administration,” she said.
McBath narrowly defeated Republican Karen Handel last year for the 6th Congressional seat, a seat held for decades by Republicans and includes portions of Dunwoody, Sandy Springs and Brookhaven.
Handel is hoping to win back the seat next year and has shored up major Republican support from many local Republican officials. There are three other Republicans are vying for the Republican nomination for a chance to go against McBath, including state Sen. Brandon Beach of Alpharetta.
McBath started off the town hall discussing gun control, the issue that catapulted her into the national spotlight after her teen son, Jordan, was killed in 2012 at a Florida gas station by a white gunman who complained he and his friends were playing their music too loud.
McBath noted she and many others in the crowd were wearing orange shirts to memorialize those killed by gun violence as part of Gun Violence Prevention Month. In the audience were Margaret and Jeff Binkley of Dunwoody, she said. A gunman opened fire at a Florida yoga studio last year and those killed included their daughter, Maura Binkley, a 2015 DHS graduate.
The House has passed a law for stricter background checks but it remains stalled in the Senate, she said.
The key to passing such legislation is to continue reaching across the aisle to find Republican support for “sensible” gun control laws that will protect people’s lives, she said.
“I will continue to try to go across the aisle … and I’m not going to stop,” she said. “I am going to continue to reach across the aisle each and every day. My goal is to be the Georgia congressperson who has passed more bipartisan legislation.”
McBath said she is a “strong supporter of the Second Amendment” but believes in balancing those rights with “sensible gun laws.” She also blamed the NRA gun lobby for creating an “extremist gun culture” over the past 25-30 years.
McBath was also asked questions about how the federal government is funding infrastructure across the country as well as in Georgia. One question specifically targeted the Georgia Department of Transportation’s planned top end I-285 and Ga. 400 toll lanes. GDOT says the projects are needed to alleviate the notorious congestion in metro Atlanta.
“Our property values are going to be devastated” by the projects, a man told McBath. He also said there are environmental concerns and worries about sound levels continuing to increase, affecting people’s quality of life.
McBath said she has talked to people worried about elevated toll lanes being built over schools and said she, too, is concerned about that issue. She said she is working with local elected officials and GDOT to ensure families rights are protected as roads are being built. She also said she is tracking progress on planned bus rapid transit, or BRT, for both projects.
McBath also took some time to stress the importance of people engaging in local and state politics and getting to know their local elected officials.
“They are your precious resource,” she said of them. “They are your first line of defense. Most change happens at the state and local level. They need to hear from you.”