GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - It's been a controversial couple of weeks for Grand Rapids Republican Congressman Justin Amash.
"Even I'm getting tired of seeing my name in the paper," he said with a laugh during a town hall meeting in Grand Rapids Wednesday night.
The face-to-face meeting with his constituents in the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum was the first public event for Amash in his district this year. It was also the first forum since he was removed from the House Budget Committee, since he voted against the deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, and tried but failed to replace House Speaker John Boehner.
"It wasn't just me," he explains. "There were a lot of people who wanted change. We came together."
Despite disagreements with Republican leaders and loss of an important committee assignment, Amash says he is still an effective congressman.
"At the end of the day, I work very well with my colleagues," he says.
Amash says he has no plans to leave the Republican party.
"I've always been a Republican, I'm proud to be a Republican and I plan to stay a Republican," he says.
But his dedication to the party does not necessarily include loyalty to Speaker Boehner.
"We are going to give the Speaker another chance," Amash told reporters after the town hall session. "But we are going to watch carefully. We've got some big issues coming up and we'll see how it goes. Nobody is presumed to be Speaker forever."
Amash says the major problem facing the country and Congress is the national debt.
"I was removed from the budget committee, I think, because I want to balance the budget," he says with a laugh. "I think the real reason won't be told. They won't tell me. I've asked the Speaker and he won't respond."
Amash says reforming Social Security, Medicare and defense spending are critical to reducing the national debt. To learn more about Amash's positions visit his page on Facebook.