Local lawmaker hires security following death threats

March 27, 2010 5:17:18 PM PDT
The health care overhaul has people picking sides either for or against it. And some lawmakers who've supported the plan have received death threats. Congressman Al Green says while he's taking the death threats seriously he will not deviate from his schedule. On Saturday, he wanted to talk tax incentives, but a lot of his constituents wanted to hear about health care.

"These officers are here today because of some of the ugly things that have been said," said Congressman Green.

Flanked by security guards, Houston Congressman Al Green hoped to field questions about taxes, but inevitably the conversation turned to the hot topic of health care.

"I'm getting close to retirement age and I just wanted to know what's going on with that bill that they passed," said constituent Peggy Dirden.

Most of the people there support Congressman Green's vote to pass the health care bill.

"I had a heart transplant in 2008 and getting insured is very hard," said health care supporter Curley Mae Williams. "I want to show him how much my medicine costs per month."

But days after the Democratic congressman voted in favor of the health care plan, he told capitol police he'd received phone calls, threatening his life.

"I think they ought to be punished to the fullest extent that the law allows. If you do a criminal act, then you ought to be punished," said Congressman Green.

Green says the threatening phone calls were taken by an aide and adds he will meet with his staff this week to review security measures. With four offices in Houston, the congressman says he will alert his team to exactly what was said.

"I think people have to know what has been said so that they can take awful, ethical measures themselves," said Congressman Green.

Houstonians who attended Saturday's town hall meetings called the threats appalling, but say they appreciated additional security provided to make them feel safe.

"I expected some people would be here, but I didn't feel unsafe," said health care supporter Steve Honore.

"I'm praying that the other people will stop attacking and work in unity as one," said Williams.

There were no protestors at Saturday's meetings. Congressman Green says capitol police will continue investigating and advise his staff how to proceed.


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