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Dornan's Reply to Heckler Story

September 06, 1987

In an Aug. 23 story ("It Was North's Slide Show, but It Was Dornan Making a Sale"), your reporter Mark Pinsky accused me of shouting at an elderly woman heckler, "Yell once more and your ass is going to be thrown out!" during my recent Town Hall Meeting attended by over 1,000 people. Your reporter was wrong. Fortunately, I have a audio recording of the event to prove it.

I made every effort to be polite and repeatedly stated that I would not leave until all questions had been answered. After being interrupted several times by an elderly woman heckler, I told her, "I'll buy you a cup of coffee and give you a private seance later tonight at Disneyland. Now be quiet and be respectful of the others, or I'll have the school people and the police escort you out."

Although the elderly woman stopped, a man in the audience began shouting "Dornan for emperor." After ignoring him three times and growing impatient with his inconsiderate behavior, I said to him, "You can yell emperor all you want. Yell it once more and your ass is going to be thrown out." The audience, equally angered by the constant interruptions, loudly applauded my statement to the male heckler.

As an outspoken conservative congressman I am used to this kind of behavior--it comes with the territory, especially concerning Central America. But when a few individuals intentionally try to deny more than 1,000 citizens their right to peacefully listen to the Ollie North slide presentation which I eventually was able to narrate, enough is enough.

It is interesting that those who sought to disrupt this public gathering are supporters of the Communist Sandinista government, which denies the people of Nicaragua the basic freedoms of speech, assembly and press. Perhaps these people need to be reminded that in the United States, unlike in Nicaragua, the right to assembly and free speech belongs not only to those who support communism, but to all people, including those like myself and those gathered in the Santa Ana High School auditorium who support President Reagan, Lt. Col. Oliver North and democracy in Nicaragua.

ROBERT K. DORNAN

U.S. Congressman

30th District

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