Republican congressman Doug LaMalfa drew more than 1,400 people to a town hall Saturday at the Nevada County Fairgrounds about an hour north of Sacramento.

The crowd peppered LaMalfa with questions on the environment and immigration. LaMalfa backed the idea of building a wall along the border with Mexico, saying the country has to defend its borders.

But health care dominated much of the two-hour discussion. Many in the crowd appeared eager to voice their support for the Affordable Care Act and their displeasure with Republican efforts to repeal and replace it.

Republican Congressman Doug LaMalfa listens to voters after a town hall on Saturday March 18, 2017.
Republican congressman Doug LaMalfa listens to voters after a town hall on Saturday, March 18, 2017. (Katie Orr/KQED)

Some, including Stan Bunstock from Oroville, had very personal stories to share.

“Myself I would have died. I would have lost everything,” he said. “I had esophageal cancer. Thank God for the Affordable Care Act.”

Facing a rowdy crowd, LaMalfa maintained that the Affordable Care Act is in a death spiral and he defended his party’s plan to overhaul health care.

“We have to have a system that offers more choices. And you’re having less and less choices,” LaMalfa said to boos. Many in the crowd chanted “24 million,” the number of people the Congressional Budget Office estimates could lose insurance under the Republican plan.

Still, LaMalfa says he’s heard from hundreds of middle-class families who are seeing big premium increases under the Affordable Care Act.

Those in attendance held up either green or red signs to signal whether they agreed or not with LaMalfa. The congressman often faced a sea of red when responding to questions. Still, Nevada County is a rare spot of blue in a solidly red district that voted largely for President Donald Trump.

  • cruisersailor

    I’m a liberal Democrat living in Nevada County. It’s frustrating to have conservative Republicans as your assemblyman, state senator, and congressman.


Katie Orr

Katie Orr is a Sacramento-based reporter for KQED's Politics and Government  Desk, covering the state Capitol and a variety of issues including women in politics, voting and elections and legislation. Prior to joining KQED in 2016, Katie was state government reporter for Capital Public Radio in Sacramento. She's also worked for KPBS in San Diego, where she covered City Hall.

Katie received her masters degree in political science from San Diego State University and holds a Bachelors degree in broadcast journalism from Arizona State University.

In 2015 Katie won a national Clarion Award for a series of stories she did on women in California politics. She's been honored by the Society for Professional Journalists and, in 2013, was named by The Washington Post as one of the country's top state Capitol reporters.   She's also reported for the award-winning documentary series The View from Here and was part of the team that won  national PRNDI and  Gabriel Awards in 2015. She lives in Sacramento with her husband. Twitter: @1KatieOrr

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