Occupy Huntsville Members Take Their Questions Directly To GOP Rep. Mo Brooks

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"Occupy Huntsville Members Take Their Questions Directly To GOP Rep. Mo Brooks"

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL)

In Alabama, protesters took their complaints directly to their elected representative on Monday night. About a dozen people from Occupy Huntsville went to Rep. Mo Brooks’ (R-AL) town hall at a local high school to question the congressman. “There won’t be any protesting, we have no signs,” Mark Jones, an engineer who brought questions for the group to ask, told the Huntsville Times. “We don’t want a fight. We want a level playing field.”

Occupy Huntsville members pressed Brooks on closing corporate tax loopholes and groups that had raised money for Brooks, but others in the 300-plus crowd were hostile toward the questioners:

When the woman began to press her point, the crowd grew noisy, with some shouting “Next!” to get her to step away from the microphone. That scene repeated itself several times throughout the evening as some in line challenged Brooks on his answers.

One of the more confrontational moments came when a man asked about the Gula Graham Group’s fund-raising efforts on Brooks’ behalf. [...]

The man continued to ask Brooks about the organization and the money it raised for him, waving papers while the audience began to loudly object. Brooks at one point asked if there was any way to turn off the man’s microphone so he could finish his response.

While some interaction between Brooks and those asking questions grew argumentative, Brooks encouraged the crowd to take the debate in stride. “This is what a town hall’s all about,” he said. “Just enjoy it.”

The 99 Percent Movement demonstrators have camped out in parks and protested in the streets — even taking over Times Square on the day of global demonstrations — but so far they have not directly questioned members of Congress at town halls like Tea Party members did in 2009 in opposition to health care reform.

But at least Occupy Huntsville got their questions in without being as rudely interrupted as one student. Before the town hall, Brooks met with students at the high school who are taking U.S. government. Jeremy Mock, a senior whose grandmother immigrated from Mexico, questioned Brooks about Alabama’s extreme immigration law:

When Mock began to make a point about the illegal immigrants who had left Alabama after the passage of the state’s tough new immigration law, Brooks interrupted him and broke out in a big grin.

Isn’t that great,” he said, getting applause from a number of the students.

Previously, Brooks has made it clear he has no compassion for undocumented immigrants, saying June that he would “do anything short of shooting them.” And as the state’s agriculture industry suffers because farmers do not have enough workers to pick crops for harvest now that Hispanic farm workers are fleeing the state, Brooks said that was the goal: “With respect to illegal aliens who are now leaving jobs in Alabama, that’s exactly what we want.”

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