ASHVILLE, N.Y. -- Hundreds in energetic crowds gathered at Congressman Tom Reed's town hall meetings Saturday in Ashville and Cherry Creek, N.Y. -- much more than the usual handful of people.
People addressed their concerns about the state of their country with signs and questions.
They held up posters with messages such as "Truth Matters" and "Free Press Is Not Our Enemy."
Young and old spoke to the congressman on topics like healthcare, the Trump administration, immigration and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
"I would like to know why you want to get rid of the EPA?" Madison Hill, a 10 year-old in attendance, asked.
"Madison, let me look you in the eye and tell you I do not support removing and repealing the EPA," Representative Reed said. "What we need to do is make sure the EPA does its job."
Though the loudest in the crowd seemed to be those against Reed and his policies, there were supporters of the representative too.
"They were quite vocal and passionate about their positions," Thomas Rackowski from Westfield, NY, said. "The congressman, I thought, held his position very well."
Reed, R-Corning, held the meetings after Congressman Chris Collins, a Republican representing New York's 27th district, drew backlash last weekend by saying he would never hold a town hall meeting because he feels they can be unproductive and he prefers to meet with groups one-on-one to share information. Last week, an East Aurora woman even created an electronic billboard calling on Collins to hold a town hall meeting.
"Let's see where we can agree," Representative Reed said. "Where we can come together. Where we can solve America's problems."
Reed held four town hall meetings across his district Saturday, which includes the Southern Tier and the Finger Lakes Region of New York.
Other meetings were in Great Valley, N.Y. and Fillmore, N.Y.