Constituents call on Rep. Comstock to hold town hall in person

Courtesy Photo

Pressure continues to mount on Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-Va.-10th) to hold an in-person town hall after her latest effort consisted of a "tele-town hall" via phone.

Calls for a face-to-face meeting are coming, in part, from Indivisible Lovettsville, one of a number of "Indivisible" groups springing up around the country since the presidential election. Its name is taken from a guide written by former Capitol Hill staffers that offers tips on resisting President Trump's agenda.

Kristen Swanson, a member of Indivisible Lovettsville, told the Times-Mirror they intend to continue to press the congresswoman for a personal town hall meeting,.

"We continue to follow what's going on in Congress every day. We have daily action alerts that give citizen's concrete actions they can take," Swanson said. "We are going to continue to call, write, and show up at her office to make sure she hears our concerns, and to hold her accountable for her votes. We will not back down on insisting on an in-person town hall event."

Comstock has cited scheduling conflicts as one of the reasons she hasn't been able to personally attend since last month's inauguration.

The congresswoman's office touted the fact the telephone town hall resulted in her connecting with approximately 6,000 constituents.

On the call, Comstock said her office had fielded large volumes of calls about health care reform.

"I want to dispel a lot of misconceptions out there about what we are doing and going about health care reform," Comstock said in the call. "We truly want to repair and replace our health care plans " we are hearing from people... about the difficulty in being able to have affordable care and so we are working on having more choices at lower costs, real protection and peace of mind, particularly, and I emphasize this, including protecting those with pre-existing conditions, that's something we are very committed to."

Comstock's deputy chief of staff, Jeff Marschner, said she also covered a range of other issues during the exchange, taking questions "... on the immigration Executive Order, federal employee issues and particular bills such as abolishing the EPA or Education Department - measures which the Congresswoman opposes."

"We are ever present in the district at meetings with businesses, at schools, at veterans and civic organizations, and more," Marschner said. "We have found that small groups or one on one meetings enable us to learn about concerns our constituents have while providing them the opportunity to extend feedback about legislation before Congress. We have found that this personal setting has been conducive to civil and respectful discussions."

The call for a town hall come on the back of recent well-publicized, heated town halls, perhaps most notably Rep. Tom McClintock's (R-Calif.) rowdy session in northern California. McClintock was escorted from the event by police.

One of those listening to Comstock on the line was Indivisible's Jan Hyland.

"I was on the tele-town hall and was very disappointed in the lack of substance " that would have been the perfect opportunity for her to share her so-called plan to replace the Affordable Care Act," Hyland said. "But she didn't share a plan at all. It was more a wish list of things she'd like to keep - things that the Affordable Care accomplishes. Out of 6,000 on the call, less than a dozen got to ask questions and there was no follow-up opportunity."

On Valentine's Day, a group of Comstock's constituents attended her district office in Sterling to hand deliver hundreds of Valentine's Day cards displaying messages and questions.

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