TYLER - He's a former Tyler judge, a veteran who attended Texas A&M University, and Congressman Louie Gohmert is an East Texan to the core – having grown up in the area he now represents on Capitol Hill.
Hardly a stranger to East Texas, Congressman Louie Gohmert has also made a name for himself in Washington since taking office in 2005.
The Tea Party advocate is on a mission to repeal Obamacare, and he's also addressing heat from a local group that is "resisting the Trump agenda."
CBS19 reporter Michael Aaron sat down with Rep. Gohmert during a recent trip back to East Texas.
“What is something people in East Texas don't know about you?” Aaron asked.
“I've played the guitar since I was eight years old,” Gohmert responded. “I got a cheap guitar with plastic strings and was told if you practice every day maybe Santa will bring you a good guitar for Christmas.”
“He did and it was a Gibson and I still got it, but I don’t play much at all… maybe just get it out on nights in Washington when I’m by myself and so frustrated by what's going on.”
Much of Gohmert’s current discontent comes from a lack of healthcare reform since President Trump took office in January.
“People across East Texas cannot afford to have their premiums go up anymore,” he said.
The Republican healthcare bill to repeal Obamacare never made it to a vote in the House due to lack of support. Gohmert is among the conservatives who oppose the measure -- saying it doesn't go far enough.
“The bill we passed two years ago did more repealing of the actual Obamacare than this bill currently before the house so that's really heartbreaking,” he said.
As Congress moves on to other issues for now, Gohmert said healthcare remains a top priority of his and his constituents, who he hears from at community events and during telephone town hall meetings.
Meanwhile, Indivisible of Smith County wants him to host a public town hall in-person. Indivisible aims to resist the Trump agenda by having members - quote - "hold their members of congress accountable."
"I'll continue showing up to all of my commitments in East Texas,” Gohmert said.
“…but no plans for a town hall meeting?” asked Aaron.
“No,” Gohmert responded. “Because that's part of the playbook: 'demand a town hall.'”
“I'm not scared,” he said. “But I'm not going to have these people who can't stand me, that want me out of office… I'm not going to have them dictate the agenda.”
“So it's not a security threat then?” Aaron asked.
“Oh no, it's still a security threat,” said Gohmert.
Our interview with Rep. Gohmert came just before President Donald Trump marked his 100th day in office.
In October 2016, CBS19 anchor Bryan Boes asked Rep. Gohmert: “Could anybody be the republican right now and you would have to throw your support at them as a GOP member?”
“Not necessarily,” Gohmert said. “I was reluctant to do it with Trump.”
Though reluctant at first, Trump now has Gohmert’s full support.
“I’m grateful he got elected,” Gohmert said. “I just regret that he's getting bad advice.”
“I want Trump to have a great four years as president and hopefully get a second term, but we have to keep our promises.”
Already the two have had some straightforward conversations, including one in the Cabinet Room earlier this year.
“I said ‘I think you have the potential to be one of our greatest presidents regarding foreign policy. Our greatest presidents at foreign policy have been perceived to be a little crazy,’” recalled Gohmert.
“[Trump] said ‘that's what they're saying about me.’”
“I said ‘I know, use that to your advantage.’”
Gohmert described the last several months as “frustrating,” but said his focus remains on serving his constituents.
“I've still got hope, and I’m still going to keep pushing,” he said. “I’m still going to lose sleep in Washington working to read bills and do all I can to get us back on track, but I’ve still got hope.”
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