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Some Members Just Getting Around to Hosting Town Halls

As recess dwindled to its final few days, some Members of Congress just hosted their first town hall meetings with constituents.Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) met with more than 800 people at West Bloomfield High School in his first town hall Tuesday night, the Detroit Free Press reported, and about 1,000 more were turned away. The freshman Congressman maintained his tentative support for the Democrats’ health care reform proposal, though he said it would have “to allow participants to keep their doctors and insurance, to protect and enhance private insurance and to strengthen Medicare while reducing cost and increasing efficiency, all while being deficit-neutral.—A former state Senator and state lottery commissioner, Peters ousted Republican Rep. Joe Knollenberg in 2008 and may face a tough re-election campaign in 2010.In Newport News, Va., Rep. Bobby Scott (D) also held his first town hall. A crowd of 350 met him at the Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center, according to the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk. The nine-term Congressman defended the health care reform proposal and told constituents he believes some combination of the Senate and House proposals for health care reform will pass when Congress reconvenes.“We’ll try to combine them so Congress can have something and try to do something,— he said. “One of the reasons we’ve been having these town hall meetings is to see who has better ideas than this so we can incorporate them into our plan.—Scott, who was unopposed for re-election in 2008 and is expected to cruise to another win in 2010, will hold more town hall meetings Wednesday and Thursday.Also on Tuesday, 2008 Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) joined retiring Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) for an invitation-only forum at Palmetto General Hospital in Hialeah, Fla., according to the Miami Herald. It was the two Republican leaders’ third closed-door meeting of the week. They joined Sen. Kit Bond (R) in Missouri on Monday and Sen. Richard Burr (R) in North Carolina on Tuesday morning.The Florida meeting was the last Martinez will hold before he gives up his Senate seat next week. George LeMieux, who Gov. Charlie Crist (R) appointed to replace Martinez, was scheduled to meet with McConnell and McCain later in the day to discuss committee assignments.

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