Availability depends on demographics
In a time where Rep. Tom Reed touts himself as a “man for the people” he is available to his constituents he is far from that as I can attest upon my latest trip to Washington, D.C., as part of a contingency of medical professionals who spent two days meeting with our local representatives with concerns over the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and what is actually inside of the American Health Care Act, aka Trumpcare.
We got to meet and discuss our concerns regarding health care with all of our representatives, except Reed, whose staff rebuffed our attempts even with our willingness to meet in the early morning or later in the evening to accommodate his schedule. As for his “man of the people” mantra, he is full of hot air to state it politely. We did however get to dine with U.S. Rep. John Lewis and U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters at our expense and talk at length over our concerns and they agreed our concerns held high merit. All in all it was a successful trip, one we hope to repeat in the near future.
Now, I’d like to get back to the availability of Rep. Reed. Yes, he does hold town hall meetings and many have concerns over the places these meetings are held, the way they are run, and the times and lengths of the actual meetings.
First off, Reed holds his meetings usually in small towns/villages with strong Republican ties and usually sends out his “postcards” to his Republican supporters and not ALL of the constituents in the area. The venue is usually a volunteer fire hall that has usually all of the firefighting equipment still utilizing most of the space in the venue; if you are lucky maybe there is roughly 25 or so odd chairs set up for the meeting.
Parking is usually a problem and if you are handicapped it isn’t so easy to get into meeting — the Ovid meeting comes to mind. The place was packed to overflowing and if there was an emergency in the town there definitely would be a problem with removing the people to get the equipment out to the emergency call.
That is a danger to his constituents that I bet Reed and his staff didn’t think about — who would be accountable if someone lost their life or home due to the massive delay his meeting place could cost? I believe that these meetings are held in small places for a reason in the hopes that his constituents grow tired of cramming into small spaces and just stay home.
I know the ways the meetings are run are to Reed’s benefit and not ours because after all, he has a planned agenda and only one hour to get all that misinformation out to you. We are expected to get there early and fill out on paper our names, addresses, emails and questions in hopes to be called upon and if you don’t he promises to answer all your questions by email. I hope you aren’t waiting for those replies because in the seven years since he has been in Congress, I have never received a reply.
I’d like to touch upon a recent meeting in the town of Busti, which seems to be a favorite spot for Reed for in the last three months he has held two town hall meetings there. I know this is a very Republican, Tea Party stronghold because the town Supervisor, Jesse Robbins has an affinity to call anyone who doesn’t believe what he does, “a low down dirty lot of liberals.” He also stated that the meetings which take place in Busti are for his residents alone.
Well, Mr. Robbins, I’ve got some information for you as an elected official, your town is located in the district of the NY 23rd and any and ALL of the districts constituents are allowed at any and all of the meetings that Rep. Reed holds and there’s nothing you can do about it.
I do believe that I read an article in The Post-Journal and OBSERVER where you called out the “outsiders” as rabble-rousers. Let’s be true, the author of that article left out the fact that the Republicans, you yourself included were shouting out obscenities and told those who didn’t hold your beliefs to go back to North Korea. You addressed the Town of Busti Board and insisted that Rep. Reed was owed an apology for the ruckus, whereas I believe you owe the visitors to your community a public apology for your outburst and inexcusable behavior.
Constituents shouldn’t be silenced, for the elected official serves on their dime. #ReedsLastTerm
Cath Kestler is a Silver Creek resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org