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What Do Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene's Georgia Constituents Think Of Her?

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

What do Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene's constituents make of her? The first-term member has backed conspiracy theories and, as recently as 2019, appeared to support killing political opponents, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Those past words got her booted from her House committee assignments last week. WABE's Lisa Hagen has the view from her district.

LISA HAGEN, BYLINE: Getting people in downtown Rome, Ga., to talk about their new congresswoman is not easy these days.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: I mean, I know of her, but I don't get into politics so...

HAGEN: Oh, OK. All right. Thank you.

After losing her committee seats within weeks of being sworn in, Greene has Georgians guessing what she'll do next. But anyone thinking of crossing her should be ready for a rough ride, according to John Cowan.

JOHN COWAN: They're going to be called a RINO. They're going to be called Never Trumper. They're going to be called all sorts of things.

HAGEN: Cowan lost a primary against Greene last year in this mostly conservative Evangelical Christian area of north Georgia. Cowan says there's a lot of fear about the country's direction, fear Greene uses to collect money and endorsements.

J COWAN: Look, guys. What she is saying superficially we all agree with. But the problem - you need to look at the messenger who is saying this.

HAGEN: What he means is Greene's not from the community. She's from the Atlanta area. And she had run for office there, but abruptly moved to the 14th District when the incumbent decided to retire.

J COWAN: This is someone who is there to get something from the community.

HAGEN: That's not how Farrell Cowan feels about it, no relation to John.

FARRELL COWAN: I liked Margy better.

HAGEN: And why is that?

F COWAN: 'Cause I'm a Cowan, he's a Cowan. And he didn't reach out to me - she did.

HAGEN: He owns a gun store and says he wasn't that interested in politics until Greene stopped by.

F COWAN: She seemed like she's really smart. She knows she's talking about, too. I don't think she's leaving anybody hanging, though, you know what I'm saying?

HAGEN: And about the conspiracy theory stuff...

F COWAN: I haven't been listening to the news or nothing lately because a lot of it's not even true. They just telling people just all kinds of crap tgese days.

HAGEN: He doesn't listen to any news period, he says, same with Facebook. As for what he thinks Greene should do in Washington?

F COWAN: Well, she just needs to stand up for our rights and not let people take them from us.

HAGEN: Which rights?

F COWAN: Well, all the ones we entitled to.

HAGEN: Stripped of her congressional responsibilities, it's hard to say how much pull Greene will have. She says she'll be freer to push the GOP further to the right. That worries Terell Shaw, a retired elementary school teacher and a Democrat. Shaw, who lives in Rome, says he's disappointed that Greene has gotten so much attention after Georgia helped Democrats win the presidency and flipped the Senate.

TERELL SHAW: Well, I just think back to some of the outstanding congressmen we've had from this area.

HAGEN: Conservatives who compromised, he says, unlike Greene.

SHAW: Well, she's made it plain what her positions are and they're extreme. She's still spouting the just absolute nonsense that President Biden wasn't elected. I mean, give me a break.

HAGEN: Across Georgia, there's a lot of quiet talk in political circles about Greene's future. It's possible redistricting could push her out of office. She's also been mentioned as a potential primary challenger to Governor Brian Kemp next year. Or maybe she'll face her own tough primary. Either way, no one expects her to stay quiet.

For NPR News, I'm Lisa Hagen in Rome, Ga. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.