Georgia demonstrators demand GOP hold town hall meetings

Dr. Michelle Golden (foreground) speaks at a congressional event that turned into a stand against Donald Trump's policies in Greensboro. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Dr. Michelle Golden (foreground) speaks at a congressional event that turned into a stand against Donald Trump’s policies in Greensboro. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Georgia demonstrators turned a low-profile event with junior congressional staffers into a stand against Donald Trump’s policies. Now they’re demanding a chance to vent to the lawmakers in-person at a town hall meeting.

Several groups on Saturday called for Sen. David Perdue and other Republicans to hold a traditional town hall meeting in metro Atlanta, and scheduled a protest at his downtown Atlanta office on Tuesday to drive their point home. Some singled out a statement from Perdue’s office that their protest would “deny those who really need help.”

“We are the people who really need help,” said Janel Green, an organizer of the Georgia Alliance for Social Justice, one of the groups spearheading the demonstrations. “We have no voice, no representation in the Senate as our senators refuse to hear our concerns.”

A wave of national protests have rocked GOP events since Donald Trump’s inauguration, including public appearances held by Republican congressmen even in deeply conservative bastions.

With no town hall meetings yet scheduled in Georgia, critics of the president’s policies targeted an event held Friday led by aides to three GOP lawmakers in the east Georgia town of Greensboro as a chance to make a statement. The event was organized by the offices of Perdue, Sen. Johnny Isakson and Rep. Jody Hice.

The staffers to the three politicians were clearly caught off guard by the size and organization of the protesters, and briefly walked out of the room to chants of “Shame!” A Hice staffer later returned with pen and paper in hand, jotting down notes as more than a dozen speakers railed against Trump’s policies and urged Georgia Republicans to defy him.

Perdue’s spokeswoman Caroline Vanvick said the senator set up the meetings to help Georgians who had “casework concerns” with federal agencies, such as senior citizens and veterans.

“If organized groups want to manufacture protests and continue to be disruptive,” she said, “it will only deny those who really need help.”

Even the phrasing of Friday’s event was a source of controversy.

The lawmakers’ deputies told protesters Friday the event was never intended to be a “town hall” and that they wouldn’t answer questions, leading to a cascade of boos. And a Hice staffer told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday it was planned as a “constituent services day” with private one-on-one sessions with residents to hash out passport problems and other issues.

But several organizers on Friday and Saturday circulated a press release from Isakson’s office earlier this month describing it as a chance for constituents to talk to his aides about “any issues concerning the federal government, federal legislation or federal agencies.”

More: Georgia Democrats try not to ‘waste’ anti-Trump movement

More: Protest overwhelms GOP congressional aides in east Georgia

 

Reader Comments 0

167 comments
Amy Young
Amy Young

Why? All they would do is protest and not let anyone talk!

Fred Hackney
Fred Hackney

What Georgians are u talking about..I believe these are PAID ORGANIZERS.. Go away

Betty Johnson
Betty Johnson

Nothing wrong with this if its not done to protest and create an environment one can't ask civil questions. Have to write our senators and congressmen to get answers now better luck no interruption

Irene Maeger Milner
Irene Maeger Milner

If there were "Town Hall Meetings", you would be so disruptive no questions could be asked or answered. Suck it up, Donald Trump is the president. He has already done more for the good of America than Obama did in eight years. Obama was not my choice as president, but I didn't go out and protest, burn, riot, and bully. If you want answers, be civilized.

John Burns
John Burns

The reps weren't caught off guard. They knew what it was going to be like, and that was why there were so many law enforcement officers there. Crowd control and traffic control. They weren't caught off guard at all.

Larry Walker
Larry Walker

Why? The just want a platform and free place to voice their meanness and ugly talk. You people just can't accept defeat. Here is another fact, your vote did not count one bit more than mine or the other citizens of this country who voted for Trump.

John Tinsley
John Tinsley

So they can harassed by Democraps? Wouldn't accomplish anything, just confirm what the rest of the state already knew about Democraps. That's why Georgia is a red state.

Joe Creaney
Joe Creaney

Ok, so they choose to not be there for the tantrums which have been bought and paid for and money wasted.

Kevin Jjose
Kevin Jjose

Why so they can send their goons to protest

Terece Sutherlin
Terece Sutherlin

why are these clearly democrat supporters not going to their own democratic town halls????? So basically, more of "we didnt win an election, so we are gonna throw a tantrum like 2 year olds". Go cry to your own worthless elected leaders

Anthony Negri
Anthony Negri

Right let's hold meeting with the party of intolerance. Take a page from the Trump playbook, you don't get to ask me questions.

Aldonna Elliott Langley
Aldonna Elliott Langley

If these people are not going to be respectful. The GOP should not hold town halls. There are other ways to communicate with the people but to purposely put themselves in a potentially dangerous situation is ludicrous. A town hall is where their is discourse not screaming and shouting.. No one hears each other!!!

Brent Hilburn
Brent Hilburn

If you all want to make a difference, contact YOUR local Ga state Senator & House Rep and ask them to support HB133... This will allow YOU more than just 2 choices in any election... That's something you can make a difference on TODAY... https://legiscan.com/GA/text/HB133/id/1481327

Brent Hilburn
Brent Hilburn

The GOP (or any entity) is not OBLIGATED to hold a town-hall meeting... Representatives have ZERO obligation to put themselves or their staffs through the endless rehashing of the election results. The DNC needs to get it's act together and offer up an alternative for people to actually vote for... The very silent majority is watching and this behavior only drives them in one direction... and it's not towards you...

Betsy Swarthout Whitley
Betsy Swarthout Whitley

Brent, I don't think you understand our government. All democrats don't get together to vote for Democrats, and same for Republicans. We vote within districts. Sometimes republicans win, sometimes democrats. But all of the people are supposed to get heard. And our government representatives are supposed to support the people. Republicans choose to see businesses as people, so they have gotten a lot of support lately. What has the Senate done for human beings lately? If you check, they are making big shows of jobs in industries that are dying out in progressive countries (it's just a natural progression of the economy), but scaling back on protecting people--including the clean air, land and water. Also shooting down laws protecting consumers and health benefits. All of this is claimed to be so businesses thrive. But businesses were already thriving--but it didn't filter down to us. And now it won't for sure.

Wallace Mathis
Wallace Mathis

Without an event to protest, these folks have nothing, so give them no chance to grandstand and be stupid.....

Yvette Marie Jacobs
Yvette Marie Jacobs

Umm shouldn't town halls be held for everyone so we can fix the issues. Why hold a town hall of its just a place for grandstanding by protesters.

Rick Knowles
Rick Knowles

The demo's just want to crash the meeting for the news. Let them have the meetings.

Mike Wallace
Mike Wallace

Check you're facts snowflakes the democrats have been gutting social security for years

Erik Moore
Erik Moore

Lord the brainwashing is amazing. The GOP will vote in 2017 to end social security. If you are lucky, Fems will stop them... Where do you get your news from man?

Joe Fincher
Joe Fincher

Why should they hold town hall meetings when irrational emotionally disturbed liberals will try to cause problems? These town halls should be for their supporters. Not for libs to make fools of themselves.

Erik Moore
Erik Moore

No, town halls are for all GA residents, regardless of who they voted for. They represent the state, not just republicans.... you know that right?

Joe Fincher
Joe Fincher

No it's not for all Georgians when it's a congressional representative representing a particular district. The libs are busing in people from all over the United States to make fools of themselves. It's supposed to be a nice setting with our representative talking directly to his or her constituates. This so called movement is a scam and not good for out republic.

Connie White
Connie White

I wouldn't give these people the time of day, they are the rudest, crudest, most violent, destructive and obnoxious group of rioters that's ever been on the face of the earth...I would fear you being harmed, killed or kidnapped if you don't go along with their agenda!

Erik Moore
Erik Moore

Sounds like you need a safe space!

Connie White
Connie White

No I'm good! Locked and loaded....liberals have become mentally ill.

James Campbell
James Campbell

Never saw such grandstanding, egotistical demands from the losers of an election. The election is over and done with...You are insulting the "American electoral system," which is a quote from Hillary Clinton in the third debate as she lectured Trump on his hesitancy to agree to accept the election results. I might add, the ones demanding the town hall would probably organize a mob to shout down any attempt to have a rational conversation like the town hall Congressman Chavitz had in his state.

Constance Rutledge
Constance Rutledge

We pay those stupid clowns, they are supposed to answer to us. Only snowflakes and/or idiots refuse to hold them accountable

Erik Moore
Erik Moore

Like the Tea Party did back in 2009? Or is this different?

Brian Haulk
Brian Haulk

Why so they can go to them and rant and rave about their Stupidity? Lol smdh

Liz Dadin
Liz Dadin

How many did the Democrats hold?

Erik Moore
Erik Moore

Lewis and Johnson hold multiple town halls during every break. But it's about the GOP - they are in charge chief....

Polly Walden
Polly Walden

Soros progressive liberals want to force us to listen to their bs. As I am not paid to endure such crap I'll pass. My advice to the reps that may be forced to attend - get some ear bobs that look like hearing aids so you can listen to something besides these bozos

Polly Walden
Polly Walden

In business you do not always get to choose who you must deal with. I know Soros past, he is to blaamse for alot problems in a lot of nations. You can believe it or not,I could care less. It makes it no less the truth