By Miriam Raftery
February 10, 2017 (El Cajon) – Across the nation, members of Congress are drawing large overflow crowds at town hall meetings since the election of President Donald Trump, with many people voicing concerns over various policies. But Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) has refused a request from constituents who presented a petition Tuesday with 500 signatures asking for a town hall meeting with their Congressman.
“We ask Hunter to act not as a Republican, but as an American,” says Tracy Clingan, one of Hunter’s constitutents who met with Hunter’s District Director Mike Harrison on Tuesday. Clingan says only five people were allowed inside, though another 50 or so rallied on the street outside. “We presented a petition with 500 names asking for an in-person town hall meeting so we could talk face-to-face with our representative. Additionally, 40 pages of comments from constituents about why we want a meeting was presented. We were very disappointed to hear that they couldn't schedule an in-person town hall meeting.”
According to Clingan, the group asked Hunter to work to improve or fix the Affordable Healthcare Act, not replace it. In addition, “ We asked Hunter to co-sponsor HR 724 to rescind and defund Trump's Muslim Ban. We were told he would not. We asked that Hunter co-sponsor HR 804 to prevent political appointments from serving on the National Security Council. We didn't get an answer at this meeting but a promise that he would be asked. We asked Hunter's position on San Diego being a sanctuary city and he does not support it. “
The constituents were part of a nationally effort called Indivisible to organize Americans with concerns about the Trump agenda. Voters are encouraged to attend town hall meeting with their Congressional representatives or schedule one-on-one meetings with them. But so far, Hunter has dodged all efforts by Democrats and others with concerns about Trump’s agenda, deferring to staff.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Hunter aide Joe Kasper has said that their office has not had significantly more calls from within the district lately than in the past, a claim activists question. “I left a message at Joe Kasper’s DC office this afternoon challenging him to release call numbers from this time last year and explaining to him that whether or not Duncan has stuff to say to us, he has an obligation to listen to what we want to say to him,”says Christina Sosa, a member of the East County Democratic Club.
Kasper told the Times that Hunter has held town halls in the past including phone-in town halls. If so, live town halls have not been advertised in the press and progressives have complained of call screenings that prevented them from asking questions during the telephone town halls that were held.
Kasper accused constitutents of seeking a town hall “with the specific purpose of trying to create a public event which they can attend and agitate. We’re not going to adjust the way we do things just because there is a group out there looking to make a scene.”
Those seeking a town hall open to the general public, not merely conservative supporters of Hunter, hope to ramp up the pressure by holding weekly rallies and requesting weekly rallies with their Congressional member, using tactics similar to the Tea Party’s in the past to build awareness for concerns over Congressional and presidential actions—and work toward change.
Indivisible members in Hunter’s 50th Congressional distirct plan rallies and meetings with staff every Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Congressman Hunter’s office, located at 1611 North Magnolia Ave., Suite 310, in El Cajon. Organizers hope larger crowds will help to influence Hunter on some issues.
View map with zoom-in feature to locate the office :http://ecdcweb.net/congressional-districts/
The activists urge voters to call Hunter’s office at (619)448-5201, send a fax to (619)449-2251, and call his aide, Joe Kasper, at (202)225-5672.
Find more information on the Facebook page for the local Indivisible group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/237050563408404/.
View the national Indivisible website at https://www.indivisibleguide.com/.