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Politics and Government

Buerkle town hall

Ellen Abbott

A bit of bickering broke out among citizens at Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle's town hall meeting in DeWitt Monday. But it wasn't even the big issues that caused disagreement.

This war of words broke out towards the end of the town hall meeting over an issue  that doesn't make many headlines these days -- school choice.  The tension was evident at other times during the session, with supporters applauding Buerkle on certain issues and opponents applauding questioners who challenged her views.  The congresswoman says even though these sessions can be sometimes look very partisan, they are worth it.

"There were new faces today. We had good questions, and they weren't partisan, they weren't on either side.  You just keep doing it.  You just keep giving people a venue to talk to us," said Buerkle.

The congresswoman will be adding to those venues, setting up a series of listening sessions about the Affordable Care Act.  She says the country needs to have a discussion over what health care should look like.  Buerkle is opposed to the law, and has voted to repeal it in the past.  She says it needs to be changed, and will take into account thousands of e-mails coming into her office on the issue, as well as a poll on her website.

Buerkle also addressed this election year's so-called "war on women" at the town hall meeting. The Republican says her conservative views have left her marginalized when it comes to women's issues.  Buerkle suggested organizations supporting women's issues should be cheering her because she is a "mother of six …first woman to ever hold this seat in congress," she said to applause.

Buerkle told the crowd that women need to work together to advance women's issues, and not focus on their disagreements.

"You're not going to agree.  Married couple don't agree on everything."  Every women is not going to agree, but if we look at women and we say we want to advance the cause of women, we'd better stick together and do that," Buerkle said.

Buerkle says she supports many pro-women issues, most recently joining in the fight against sex trafficking.  She says though because she is on the other side of the ideological fence from high profile women's groups on issues like abortion, her voice isn't heard in the discussion of women's issues.