Bridge said he and about 35 other protesters were taken to a conference room in the building occupied by Hinojosa’s local staff where a conference call was set up between them and the congressman.
The protesters were part of a loosely organized, nationwide effort to bring Americans together last Friday to ask representatives to vote no on nationalized health care.
The intent was for groups to appear at their Congress members’ offices all at the same time, all across the country. Protesters were to arrive at the offices on the East Coast between noon and 1 p.m. and those on the West Coast were to show up between 9 and 10 a.m.
In Beeville, the protesters arrived at 11 a.m.
Groups across the nation who called themselves “Tea Party Patriots,” were mostly made up of people who participated in TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party protests on April 15 and July 4.
“We had to wait a while,” Bridge said of the conference call with Hinojosa.
Although the rancher and retired police officer did not want to be chosen as the group’s speaker, he accepted the role after he was asked.
Hinojosa told the group that he may not be able to answer every one of the 16 questions the Bee County patriots had written for the conference. He said amendments were still being considered for the legislation.
Bridge asked the congressman if it would be possible for the group to have an audience with him and he suggested that they might. He recommended some kind of town hall meeting in the future.
“I asked him how we’d pay for it,” Bridge said and the congressman said lawmakers are still studying that issue.
Bridge then asked Hinojosa if he intended to sign himself and his family up for the government plan, if one is included in the legislation. President Barack Obama is demanding that people be given a public health insurance option as part of the law.
Bridge said Hinojosa did not answer that question directly. But the congressman did say that people will have a choice of plans they want to use.
Bridge also wanted assurances that Hinojosa would not vote for anything that would ultimately result in rationing health care for Americans.
The entire list of questions was presented to Hinojosa’s staff to be forwarded to his Washington office.
Judy McAda met the Bee County patriots at the Veterans Plaza just outside the door to the office, invited the entire group to come inside and listen as Bridge and Hinojosa spoke.
See the entire list of 16 questions at the Bee-Picayune’s Web site at www.mysoutex.com.