Indivisible: Ready for Recess! Press roundup, February 19/20
We’re seeing more and more coverage for the Indivisible movement around the country as we head into recess week. Just like in the previous roundup, national coverage is excellent: big stories in the New York Times looking at town halls in South Carolina and the Southern Tier of New York , USA Today features the action in Miami, and NPR looking at rural ,conservative, upstate New York. Local news has reports of town halls, protests, organizing meetings, and lots of stories about creative tactics to highlight Congresspeople who are continuing to try to dodge their constituents.
Update, Monday 2/20: Now with more links!
The Indivisible Team has some excellent tips on How to Have a Successful Town Hall on their site, and they’re hosting a #ResistanceRecess kickoff call Sunday night with the Working Families Party, All of Us, MoveOn, People’s Action, and the Center for Popular Democracy. So I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more press over the next week!
To start with, I want to highlight Tai Ragan’s story for Rantt, This Is What Democracy Looks Like For Jason Chaffetz. It’s got a detailed look at Chaffetz’ town hall last week, with many great quotes from attendees.
The event got a lot of national press — Politico even featured it in their story Inside the Protest Movement that Has Republicans Reeling — but initial local coverage was critical, following the GOP party line, So Ogden Indivisible pushed back hard. With the support of Salt Lake Indivisible, Indivisible Utah County, Utah Indivisible (which acts as a hub for the local organizations), and others, they quickly got the media outlets to retract and rewrite they’re story. Now even Chaffetz is pushing back against the Utah GOP’s inaccurate descriptions of “violence.” Well done!
By the way, Utah Indivisible’s building on their success with a petition on change.org, asking Chaffetz to do his job and investigate Trump’s conflicts of interest. More about that soon …
Now, on to the roundup! As usual, thanks to Seattle Indivisible for the inspiration. I’m sure I missed some links — please leave them in responses!
“Our intention is not to be intimidating, it’s not to be heated,” said Erin Zwiener, who lives in Driftwood. “It’s to ask our very legitimate concerns.” Zwiener is with Indivisible TX-25, a group opposed to President Trump’s agenda. They have been asking U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin, to hold a town hall in Hays County. Erin Cargile
Roger Williams’ 25th District piled into Flores Mexican Restaurant in Dripping Springs for a town hall meeting, hoping the Central Texas congressman would show up. Williams did not attend. The gathering, organized by the group Indivisible Austin, drew residents who are challenging Williams and other area congressional members to answer their concerns about the policies being proposed and enacted by the Trump administration and the Republican-led Congress. By Mary Huber
“I don’t mean to sound flippant,” Ernest Fava began, before referencing President Donald Trump. “But are you personally proud to have this person representing our country?” The overcrowded room cheered in response…. So began the 3 ½ hour constituent town hall hosted by Sanford and Indivisible Charleston in Mount Pleasant that was originally scheduled to last one hour. By Michael Pronzato
- As Many Republicans Avoid Testy Town Halls, Mark Sanford Hosts A Marathon Event With Protesters by Alexis Levinson, Buzzfeed
- In Charleston, a rare show of civility between left-leaning activists and their conservative congressman, by Emma Dumain, The Post and Courier
- Hundreds turnout for Rep. Sanford and Sen. Scott town hall in Mount Pleasant, Alexis Simmons, Live 5 News
The progressive protest movement that has confronted federal lawmakers from around the country swept into Western New York on Saturday, as Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, encountered hundreds of protesters and loud voices everywhere he went during four town hall meetings in the western Southern Tier. Standing outside a senior center in Ashville, in a veterans hall in Cherry Creek, in a firehouse in Great Valley and outside the Allen Town Hall in Fillmore, Reed heard the same message again and again… By Jerry Zremeski
Rose Mary Hooper has long been outspoken in local politics in her hometown of Naples…. She and a group from Ontario County planned to attend Reed’s Saturday, Feb. 18, town hall in Allen, Allegany County — 50 miles from the village of Naples…. She and others are following the “Indivisible” playbook. Part of that is going the distance — “We are traveling lots of miles,” to confront local congressional members, Hooper said.
“This is a great turnout,” said Mia Muzzarelli, one of the organizers of Sierra Vista United for Equality. “It’s a lot more people that we could have asked for or expected.” Muzzarelli was pushing her daughter, Malina, in a stroller and was joined by her mom, Shelly, in walking up and down Fry Boulevard at the park’s entrance. “This is a shocking moment in our history,” Shelly said. “This isn’t about Republican or Democrat, it’s about taking our country back.” By Eric Petermann
According to staff of Senator Tom Cotton, an upcoming town hall meeting will move to a larger venue to accommodate expected crowds. Ozark Indivisible has been pushing Cotton to meet with the public on health care and other issues.
The Post and Courier, South Carolina: Hundreds of people protest President Trump ahead of his visit to Boeing’s North Charleston campus
A couple of hundred protesters converged Friday outside the North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit to Boeing’s campus. In between chants of “Dump Trump!” and “Impeach!” they demanded an independent investigation of his administration’s alleged ties with Russia. By Deanna Pan
Most recently, members travelled to Pearce’s Las Cruces office after a telephone town hall turned out to be a disappointment when very few of those signed up were contacted to be involved. Ludington is pleased with the response to Otero Indivisible. By Carolyn Detmer
Retired teacher Linda Truckenmiller-Krum believes the lack of a state budget is hurting her and fellow retired teachers. That’s one of the many reasons why she and 16 other members of the Indivisible group in Freeport created signs, loaded up their vans, and traveled to Galena, where Congressman Adam Kinzinger was holding a fundraiser.
Meanwhile, some constituents in the 48th Congressional District, a coastal span from Seal Beach to Laguna Niguel, have joined an anti-Trump group, Indivisible OC 48, which its members say has met outside Rohrabacher’s office on four successive Tuesdays.
Over 50 people gathered Saturday afternoon for the first meeting of ‘Indivisible Staunton.’ By Matthew Fulz
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, didn’t schedule a town hall meeting during the recess, but a handful of members of Indivisible Wisconsin, a progressive organization formed in the wake of Trump’s election, have invited him to their own town hall. “Compared to Congressman Pocan and Sen. (Tammy) Baldwin, he’s just not accessible to his constituents,” said Adam Wood, an organizer of the town hall for Johnson. “We have a representative democracy, and the way that that works is that constituents have to have access to their representatives.” By Shelley K. Mesch
About two dozen groups in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties have registered on the Indivisible website in the last couple of months…. They’re using social media to connect and engage with every member of Congress, including Tampa Democrat Rep. Kathy Castor and Rep. Dennis Ross, a Republican who represents eastern Hillsborough County and served on Trump’s transition team. “I think we’re at an important moment in American democracy,” said Indivisible Tampa co-founder Michael Broache, a 32-year-old college professor who has never worked as an organizer before. By Tony Marerro
Texas 17th District Indivisible will be holding a Town Hall meeting Sunday evening, but it does not seem Rep. Bill Flores will actually attend. A representative for the group, Jeni Ganz, said they decided to hold a town hall after repeatedly reaching out Rep. Flores to schedule a town hall. “He’s back in district this week so far he’s not been cooperative.” Ganz said.
Dozens of people who say Rep. Scott DesJarlais isn’t around to listen to their concerns met outside his office in Murfreesboro Saturday. They passed out flyers with his picture on it that read,”Missing: Have you seen this man?” Members of the groups Rutherford Indivisible and Alliance for Healthcare Security say they’ve been trying to convince the representative of Tennessee’s fourth congressional district to hold a public town hall event, but he hasn’t responded.
The grassroots group South Pasadena Indivisible, formed by citizens who have been organizing protests on Fair Oaks Avenue, seeks to take action in resistance efforts. More than 85 people attended SPI’s first meeting on Wednesday, February 15, at the South Pasadena Public Library’s community room, to set goals for the organization moving forward. By Brandon Yung
Maureen Hains, a professional living in Chesterfield County, has replaced “Pride and Prejudice” binge-watching with nights maintaining a Facebook page with nearly 1,600 followers. Alsuin Preis, a stay-at-home mom in Richmond, now jokes that her car trunk of signs and markers is like a protest-to-go kit. Chrystal Doyle, a school nurse and mother, mines Brat’s voting record in her free time…
Constituents of Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-10th, announced that they would hold a town hall with or without her after requesting for weeks to hold one, The Washington Post reported. Indivisible Richmond and Together We Will, two groups with which Hains and her Facebook followers work, did the same thing and organized a 7th District constituent town hall for Thursday, weeks before Brat made his announcement to hold a town hall. By Vanessa Remmers and Patrick Wilson.
Bartholomew County Indivisible is working to make their local members’ voices heard at the Indiana Statehouse and in Washington, D.C. The group has been meeting weekly since Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration and has about 60 members, said Terry Whittaker of Columbus, former owner of Viewpoints Bookstore. After members express their concerns to the group, it will work to devise strategies to reach state and federal legislators, Whittaker said.
Take William Reed, 84, a retired commercial lender. Carrying a cane and a sign that said, in part, “Subpoena Trump’s Taxes,” he joined a protest by about 90 people outside Sen. Marco Rubio’s Southbank office on Valentine’s Day. The meeting was organized by local Indivisible groups — Reed is in the one from Clay County — who plan to make the Tuesday protests a regular feature at the offices of local members of Congress. They rallied to protect the Affordable Care Act, to protest Trump’s Cabinet picks and travel ban and to question his ties to Russia, among other issues. “I’m a lifelong Republican and I’m very disturbed about the direction our country’s taking right now,” Reed said. “It never occurred to us that a crazy like Donald Trump could get elected,” he said. “We are on the verge of fascism, it looks to me.” By Matt Soergel
Rebecca Phillips heads up the newly formed subcommittee on immigration through the larger Prescott Indivisible group. “I’m very impressed with the group and with Prescott Indivisible as a whole,” she said. “We’re now up to 28 people on the immigration group email. I find them all bright, dedicated and well-informed.”
Congresswoman Karen Bass led a town hall meeting in the Palms neighborhood of Los Angeles on Sunday in opposition of President Donald Trump’s agenda, and hundreds joined in on the conversation…. The District 37 representative said not only are people concerned, they also want to get involved, which is why she invited the advocacy group Indivisible CA-37. “Our main goal is to advocate progressive values to try to defend against the Trump administration,” explained Jerome Leroy, of the group. By Mayde Gomez
As well-heeled Republican donors arrived at the posh downtown Omni hotel for the Tarrant County GOP’s annual Lincoln Day fundraising gala, they were greeted by chants of “I want my town hall” and “Do your job.” The chants were directed at the Republicans who represent Fort Worth in Congress. Jay Malone, the lead organizer for Indivisible DFW, said if they’re too busy meet with constituents in an open forum, they shouldn’t have the time to entertain donors. By Chris Connelly
Hundreds of local residents have formed and joined a new organization called Cazenovia Call to Action, a group intent on helping local citizens learn how to be effective advocates for the issues they are passionate about…. “We’re driven greatly by what people are passionate about; there is no one theme or one issue; there’s lots of issues,” said CCTA Steering Committee member Maureen Zupan… The hundreds of members of the organization have been broken into smaller committees/working groups based on the specific political issues they want to address. By Jason Emerson
The group call themselves ‘Indivisible Tri-Cities’ and they’ve been protesting around the region against both national and local policies. On Sunday evening the group held a meeting in Johnson City and they invited several legislators from the region to attend including state representatives Matthew Hill and Bud Hulsey. They were hoping for a town hall style meeting where they could ask questions, but none of the leaders turned up to the meeting. By Jess Cartwright