Rep. Rob Woodall, Republican congressman from Georgia's 7th District
DULUTH -- U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall met with constituents at Duluth High School on Saturday morning, alternately fielding questions ripe with praise and strewn with criticism.
To hear him tell it, he wouldn't have it any other way.
"I tell people all the time my town hall meetings have the toughest questions," he said to a capacity crowd inside the school's theater, "and it's because people do the research."
The theater grew most heated during two separate discussions of Woodall's stance on immigration, individual audience members pointing out its flaws while the loudest applause of the entire lunchtime session followed the representative's retorts.
One man in the audience called Woodall's HR140, the Birthright Citizenship Act, "unconstitutional on its surface."
"Citizenship is not something to be given away casually," Woodall responded. "Citizenship is the most precious thing that we have."
A female audience member said Woodall's proposal was "punishing the wrong people" in children that were born in the United States to illegal parents. As cries from the audience heatedly told the woman to "sit down," Woodall's response drew raucous approval.
"No one from outside this country has a claim on U.S. citizenship," he said.
Woodall also addressed a number of other topics.
On the current low Congressional approval rating: "Folks are frustrated, and in a down economy like this, that's what you see. It doesn't matter what great ideas you have or how well you pontificate on C-SPAN. If you can't make a difference in the lives of people back home, what good are you?"
On eliminating the federal Department of Education and Environmental Protection Agency in order to cut spending: "If I could leave those decisions to us instead of Washington, I'd absolutely do it tomorrow."
On reports of politicians using the jobs crisis as a means of increasing fundraising: "I know you certainly haven't seen me dialing for dollars, because I haven't. The vitriol in politics has gotten way out of hand. And there is not one member of Congress that is spending less time on fundraising than I am."
Woodall will continue his series of town hall meetings in Barrow County on Monday before returning to Gwinnett on Thursday for a meeting at Snellville City Hall from 7 to 8 p.m.