Congressman Mike Johnson spoke to a group of community members and elected officials on Wednesday about the issues facing the country and the area.

After his opening speech, Johnson took questions from the crowd of around 25 people on issues such as health care, the economy, veterans healthcare and the situation in North Korea.

"We've been very involved with communicating with leadership here and constituents here, so I had a pretty good feeling for what the main issues are," Johnson said. "Clearly, we're very concerned with veterans issues in this community and with the National Defense Authorization Act, but people are here are concerned, as well, with their pocket books, about tax cuts and job acts, the regulatory reforms we have been able to accomplish in the Federal Government. All of that filters down and has a real impact on people's lives. It's important to hear the background of that and the perspective from Washington, and I think that is what made it a very valuable gathering today."

The District 4 representative makes town hall meetings, such as the one at the Leesville Country Club, a priority in what he does.

"I think the town hall concept is so important because the way our system of government is set up this is the best way for a member of Congress to meet with constituents they represent, hear their concerns and answer their questions," Johnson said. "I think it's just a fundamental part of democracy in America. We really enjoy this. I think this is our 28th town hall since we were elected in January, and we intend on doing many more of these as years come.

"It's a very serious commitment that we made. I take it very seriously to be accessible. There are 760,000 constituents in the Fourth Congressional District. We have 15 parishes, and that's a lot of ground to cover, but we do our very best to do that."

Johnson says it is a good way to keep up with what the people actually want or are concerned about.

"My colleagues in congress that don't do town halls miss out on a lot, because sometimes what you might assume from your office in Washington is the biggest thing on people's minds is not actually true," Johnson said. "You have to get our with the folks and out in the district to really understand what their main concerns are. Some of it you can guess, and some you can't. It's important for us to hear from them and meet face-to-face and talk eye-to-eye."