REDDING, Calif. - A newly elected North State Senator held a town hall meeting and while they said everyone was welcome, it did not appear that way on the invite.
"I did not win this race. God won this race," said Brian Dahle during the Town Hall meeting. "If I wasn't supposed to be in the Senate, I wouldn't be in the Senate," said the newly sworn-in California Senator during a Faith and Values Town Hall Thursday night.
"People want to know where you stand, where you draw the line on certain issues. I tried to share that tonight," said the Senator.
Some took to online to criticize the event, specifically the description, which said, in part, "Christians from local churches are invited to a Faith & Values Town Hall with your newly elected senator."
His former opponent, Silke Pflueger, told Action News Now, in part, "I am disturbed by our Senator-elect holding a town hall where only Christians are invited," said Pflueger.
"I am wondering what this says about who he truly represents," she added.
When asked about the critics of this event, Dahle told Action News Now, "Halleluja! They are getting to use their constitutional right to say that they don't agree with what I'm doing but I have a constitutional right to also stand up here and say, 'Hey, I think people of faith should be involved," said Dahle. "So, I applaud it, I think it's great. That's what I love about this country."
Both Senator Dahle and Mayor Julie Winter answered that the event was open to everyone in the community wanting to attend with the main message being that the community stand up and get involved.
"I want to say, for the record, that I wholeheartedly agree with the principle of the separation of church and state," said Mayor Winter. "That that does not mean that people of faith should not be involved in government. We should all be involved affecting change in the world around us."
"We have the freedoms of this country to be able to be engaged and so many people don't," said Dahle.
While some disagree with the senator and his stance on issues, he says he will continue to work with all of his constituents on any issues they may have.
"We have freedom of speech and I think they have the right as well as I have the right to promote the things that I believe in," said Dahle.