Emotions ran high at the Auburn Council Chamber Tuesday after economy-related comments were made during U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers’ Congress on Your Corner town hall meeting.
Shortly after giving an update on happenings in Washington and speaking on current issues ranging from the economy, the Second Amendment, immigration and the nation’s military presence in Afghanistan, Rogers, representing Alabama’s 3rd District, opened the floor to questions and comments from the audience. Moments later, a comment made by Auburn resident Carl Gagliano set off a heated exchange between himself and John Mullins.
“Almost weekly or monthly we hear things … being done by this administration that [appear] to be clearly illegal,” Gagliano said as he stood addressing Rogers.
Mullins, who sat nearby, immediately reacted to the allegation, standing and facing Gagliano.
“You’re a crazy man. You are crazy,” snapped Mullins at Gagliano. “The president is not some person trying to take your rights away.”
Mullins, the owner of Collector’s Corner, an Auburn comic book store, then started espousing his own political criticism, saying that he’s suffered a 20 percent decrease in business following congressional sequestration, which entails mandatory spending cuts in the federal budget.
“The House of Representatives has done more to hurt my business than anything government, state, local or federal, has ever done,” he said.
After the verbal exchange, Mullins left the town hall-style meeting, at which a number of Auburn police were present.
Rogers said Mullins’ outburst during the meeting underscored the need for Congress to focus on more serious issues like the economy.
“The economic impact of our economy on people’s lives is very direct and I understand people being emotional about it,” said Rogers, adding the nation has been in an economic downturn the last several years.
“It’s not just the sequester,” Rogers added.
Rogers wrapped up his visit to Auburn with a tour of several departments at Auburn University before heading to Anniston.