MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Many members of Congress are getting an earful during their current recess as people worried about issues or angry at the Trump Administration pack town halls.
Even lawmakers who didn’t plan on attending or holding town hall meetings are feeling the heat, as hundreds of people held a protest against congressman Erik Paulsen on Saturday afternoon.
It’s a sight that has become increasingly common, and a request that has been heard before. In cities and towns across the country, the pressure is on.
A large crowd gathered on Saturday outside of congressman Paulsen’s office, demanding a chance to voice their concerns.
“We just need him to listen and talk to us,” Clara Severson said. “There is no reason he cannot come out and speak to his constituents.”
Severson was an organizer of Saturday’s protest.
In Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District, there was a call for dialogue with Congressman Erik Paulsen on Saturday.
“We just want to better understand his votes and make sure he is hearing from all his constituents,” said a protester.
On Thursday, Paulsen opted not to attend a town hall organized in Plymouth, a decision many republican law makers are grappling with nationwide.
In some cases, crowds have shouted them off the stage, and in others, like Minnesota Congressman Tom Emmer’s, a constructive, positive conversation was had.
“They are out here saying they want town halls, but as we have seen all across the country, the only reason they want town halls is so they can make the person look foolish in public,” said Jonathan Johnson, observing the protesters on Saturday.
Some Paulsen supporters said they can understand why the congressman declined to attend this week’s town hall. Demonstration organizers at Saturday’s demonstration promised their intent is not to embarrass or offend.
“We want a civil, open dialogue,” said Severson. “We are not trying to boo him off the stage; we actually want to hear what he has to say.”
And perhaps at some point, conversation will come. But until then, the voices on both sides will find a way to be heard.