Representative Lashes Out At Constituent Over Pell Grant Funding
An Arkansas representative reportedly lashed out at a constituent who asked him why he voted to cut Pell Grant funding during a town hall meeting.
After being pressed on his voting record, Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) “tried to shush [the constituent] and talk over her,” according to the Arkansas Times. The outburst came after Womack said that the federal government shouldn’t be responsible for funding education.
The constituent, Kelly Eubanks, is a mother of two and a student at the University of Arkansas. After transferring from a community college, where she began her education to save money, Eubanks now is a full-time student and works two jobs to save for her two daughters. She is heavily dependent on Pell Grants.
In recent sessions, Eubanks paid close attention to Womack’s voting record—knowledge that came in handy at the town hall. When she asked why Womack voted to significantly cut the Pell Grant on two different occasions, he reacted “like a rank-pulling jerk,” the Times reports, a nod to his time as a National Guard colonel.
“The Pell Grant is important to me because it is one of many ways I pay for college,” Eubanks told Womack. “Without it, though, I wouldn’t be able to attend.”
Womack reacted by asking some of his aides to move her away from the microphone.
Ironically, Womack attended college on the government’s dime. In response to Eubank’s questions, Womack noted that he paid for his education by joining the National Guard.
When contacted for comment by the Times about the meeting, Eubanks said:
I’ve kept up on his voting records, campaign contributions, and his stances on various issues, like I do many of our politicians. I keep up on this stuff, because everything these politicians do really does affect our everyday lives… I thought maybe meeting him and asking him why he’d vote to hurt students but protect Big Oil interests, face to face, would get me a real answer. I really thought maybe he could explain it somehow. I did not think he was a heartless or arrogant person going in to this, but I definitely do now.
Womack did not respond to interview requests from me—one of his constituents—about the matter.
Emily Wood is a staff writer with Campus Progress. Follow her on Twitter @em_nicole55.
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