Political Insider

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Johnny Isakson to host town hall meeting at KSU

As U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, continues to wind his way through his nine in-person town hall meetings in along the Georgia coast, we’ve gotten word that U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson will be holding his first such gathering of the year on Monday.

The public event will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Kennesaw State University’s Bailey Performance Center.

Health care is expected to be a major theme during next week’s event, since it comes a little more than two weeks after the Senate GOP’s long-awaited effort to repeal Obamacare collapsed. Adding insult to injury, Blue Cross Blue Shield announced Monday it would be pulling out from metro Atlanta’s Obamacare exchanges next year due to political uncertainty.

If we were betting people, we’d also bet that Isakson will be peppered with questions about the White House’s current occupant, as well as the Russia investigations by several congressional committees.

Only one other Georgia House member has planned in-person town halls during the August recess: U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, a Republican, will host a town hall in Gainesville this evening.

The lawmakers have been under immense pressure to host in-person Q&A sessions since President Donald Trump was sworn into office, with some constituents holding weekly protests outside of U.S. Sen. David Perdue's Atlanta office. Isakson and Perdue saw their phone lines inundated by callers complaining about Trump and his Cabinet nominees earlier this year, and a public meeting their staffs held in Greensboro back in February turned testy in a scene reminiscent of some of the other viral confrontations that marked other congressional town halls across the country.

Isakson held three telephone forums in recent months, polite events that have helped blunt the complaints of some critics about his lack of in-person events. Others, though, have complained about the controlled nature of the calls. The third-term Republican has largely avoided the public spotlight this spring and summer after a pair of back surgeries stemming from a case of spinal deterioration left him in physical therapy.


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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.