Western New York Congressman Chris Collins' strong support for the policies of President Donald Trump is not sitting well with some community members. Around 200 people reportedly gathered outside the congressman's Williamsville office yesterday to renew calls for Collins to hold a town hall meeting.
Town hall meetings with congressional representatives have become flash points for opponents of President Trump. Collins' Southern Tier Republican colleague, Congressman Tom Reed, faced a loud, angry crowd at a recent town hall meeting.
"We've been paying very close to what's going on in town halls across the nation. Some people are getting criticism for only shouting down their congressmen," said Jenna Wozer who helped to organize Monday's rally.
"We're going to continue to gather in rallies to make our voice loud and clear, if the congressman (Collins) won't hold a town hall. But what we want more than anything is a civil conversation with the man who is supposed to represent our district in Washington."
Event organizers included #Buffalo Resists, ACTion Buffalo, Citizens Against Collins, Turning Election Emotion into Action and the WNY Peace Center. The protesters were aware that the office would be closed for Monday's federal holiday, Wozer said. They also believed the holiday would allow more to attend the rally.
"Our concerns ranged everywhere from the immigration and travel ban to the deportation rates. The Affordable Care Act repeal is a huge bi-partisan concern," Wozer said.
"We had a number of people who said they voted Republican in the election and are very concerned about losing their health care."
Collins' district covers a sprawling, rural area that was drawn to include a heavy Republican enrollment. The district supported Donald Trump in the Presidential election.
"Our feeling is that many of his constituents didn't actually know who Representative Collins was before now," Wozer said.
"He's been gaining a lot of attention in the media for what he's been saying (in) supporting Donald Trump and I'm sure many of his constituents do support him, but he needs to listen to all of us because there are a growing number of us who disagree with what his actions are and what he's been saying."