Kevin Rader/Eyewitness News
Indianapolis - The health care debates around the country are fierce and many say they create a bad atmosphere. But some Indiana congressmen can't be found in public.
The tenor of some of the town hall meetings on health care around the country has certainly had an effect on the debate. Many of our Congressional delegation have elected to hold job fairs or speak to specific groups, like Rotary, which entertained Rep. Baron Hill in Indianapolis earlier this week.
"Now I have to pay $65 to be a member. I just think it's outrageous that you have to pay to ask a question of your congressman," said Mike Seiwert of Spencer.
Seiwert has been trying to catch up with Congressmen Brad Ellsworth and Baron Hill, but he can't find out where they are scheduled to appear. Ellsworth's web site includes some pictures of public meetings he's been involved with but no schedule information. The same thing holds true on Rep. Baron Hill's site. There is information about health care reform, but not on his schedule.
"We proposed health care reform. If we were avoiding, we wouldn't ever have brought the issue up," said Democratic political analyst Robin Winston.
"People don't want government making the big decisions," said Republican political analyst Peter Rusthoven.
Congressman Mike Pence has emerged as one of the leading Republican voices against the proposed health care reform plan. He has hosted a number of town hall meetings during this break, but oddly enough, the event calendar on his website was blank as well.
"I don't think this is a political issue. It's 800,000 people going to bed without health care," Winston said.
"I think it's good for the country, because we are not going to end up with a government health care system," Rusthoven said.
Eyewitness News recently received an e-mail from a viewer upset about the tenor of the town halls which read, "All you have to do is shout and swear, wave guns and flags, threaten and rant, and they can get their way. Not by converting anyone to their cause, but by simply making politics so unpleasant that most people just go home and hide."
Seiwert just wants an opportunity to ask where his congressman stands on health care reform.
"Any congressman who can't face his public in my opinion is chicken," he said.
Friday, President Barack Obama, during a town hall meeting in Belgrade, Montana, denounced the news media for putting too much emphasis on angry protesters.
"TV loves a ruckus," Obama said.
Congressman Ellsworth's office contacted Eyewitness News to say they are scheduling one-on-one meetings throughout the district and you can take part in those meetings by contacting his office.
Ellsworth is also scheduling a telephone town hall, the date of which has not been set. You can visit their web site or call his office for details.