Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Chaffetz Gets Lashing At Constituent Town Hall

Rep. Jason Chaffetz faced angry constituents during a rowdy town hall Thursday night in Cottonwood Heights, his first since Donald Trump assumed office.

More than 1,000 people packed into the auditorium of Brighton High School in Cottonwood Heights, with hundreds more stuck outside after the fire marshal capped their entry.

Among the most frequently asked question to Chaffetz was whether he planned on investigating President Trump’s potential business conflicts as vigorously as he did Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

“You're really not going to like this part — the president, under the law, is exempt from conflicts of interest laws," he said to boos.

"I think there is a very dangerous precedent, very dangerous precedent to have somebody that’s in power to overuse that power," he said, being drowned out by the crowd.

The forum went on in this way, with his answers frequently interrupted, as he addressed issues from Trump’s executive orders to Congressional efforts to defund Planned Parenthood to a controversial public lands bill, called H.R. 622, that he’s proposed.

“What this bill would do — hold on — is get rid of the BLM and Forest Service police and give that money and that responsibility to the local sheriff,” he said, again prompting shouts.

Sandy resident Erin Mullaly went to the forum hoping to ask Chaffetz about his plans for the Affordable Care Act, which she has an insurance plan through. She brought her mom and friend along to the meeting — a first for her.

“I've never been involved in any kind of civics, and I’ve never been to a town hall,” she said. “And now, as I think you can see from the size of this crowd, people are really riled up. They’re kind of like, 'look at all these things that are happening.' Things are definitely changing.”

Organizers brought “Agree” and “Disagree” signs to hold up throughout the Q & A, but most stuck to yelling, booing and the occasional “Do your job!” chant.

The acrimonious town hall ended after about an hour-and-a-half and Chaffetz made a hasty exit stage right.

Julia joined KUER in 2016 after a year reporting at the NPR member station in Reno, Nev. During her stint, she covered battleground politics, school overcrowding, and any story that would take her to the crystal blue shores of Lake Tahoe. Her work earned her two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Originally from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Julia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She’s worked as both a print and radio reporter in several states and several countries — from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to Dakar, Senegal. Her curiosity about the American West led her to take a spontaneous, one-way road trip to the Great Basin, where she intends to continue preaching the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging with her beagle Bodhi, taking pictures of her food and watching Patrick Swayze movies.
KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.