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Congressman Faces Complaints At Riverbank Visit
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Tenth District Congressman Jeff Denham talks to unhappy Riverbank area residents at the Teen Center last week. In addition to protesters outside, the crowd seemed to include only those who wanted to complain about the recent healthcare vote in Washington. Ric McGinnis/The News

U.S. Congressman Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) appeared briefly in Riverbank this past week, expecting to discuss how federal programs and funding might be used to help Riverbank area projects. Instead, he was met by a crowd that seemed to be only interested in complaining about his vote on the recent healthcare bill designed to replace Obamacare.

The legislation passed in the House the week before and is headed for deliberation in the Senate.

Riverbank Mayor Richard O’Brien introduced Denham at 8 a.m. last Tuesday at the Teen Center. He got in one item about the area before the crowd took over, haranguing the Representative about his apparent change of heart when voting on the healthcare issue.

Crowd members pointed out he was originally against the bill, but he turned out voting for it. Denham explained that the bill received amendments that made it more palatable to him, hence his affirmative vote. Although the comments were somewhat repetitive, it was apparent that those in attendance did not agree with his vote.

Other representatives across the country have received similar receptions in their home districts, as has Denham in other local meetings.

Vocal protestors, with signs and other objects, remained outside, on the north side of the center, while Riverbank Police Services Chief Erin Kiely and other officers remained outside on the south side of the meeting. There were no reported confrontations between police and protestors.

The Riverbank gathering saw several dozen residents – possibly up to 100by some estimates – in attendance. It concluded promptly at 9 a.m.

Rep. Denham lives in Turlock and represents the 10th Congressional District that includes Stanislaus County and Manteca, Tracy, Ripon and Escalon in San Joaquin County.

Area Democrats have already begun to line up to oppose Denham in the November 2018 election campaign. Former Riverbank city council member Dotty Nygard has already declared her interest in the office.