Reps must hear constituents

I visited the office of our US Representative, Steve Stivers, Wednesday. The staff person was very respectful and gracious, but it was clear that Mr. Stivers would not be attending the town hall in Hilliard that night, nor did he have any plans to hold any in-person town halls in the foreseeable future. He is simply too busy to meet face-to-face with constituents, but for any who may wish to hear his voice, tele town hall is always an option.

I appreciate Mary Thomas Watts’ comments to the News Journal after she called on the same day I visited, with the same request, receiving the same response. My husband and I made the trip to join with nearly 500 other constituents at the Constituent Town Hall without our representative. None of us were paid to attend; none were bused in. As we signed in, all addresses were within the bounds of our severely gerrymandered district. We heard from a state representative about pending legislation, including the Pastor Protection Bill, which is nothing more than permission to discriminate in the name of religion. No pastor of any denomination is “forced” to conduct any service against their faith — that is already a constitutional protection.

During the town hall, we asked Mr. Stivers the questions he refused to let us ask him directly. We are concerned about the movement to repeal the ACA with no viable replacement and strongly urge repair. We are concerned about the gutting of the EPA because we want to breathe clean air and drink clean water. We are concerned about the planet and the denial of climate change while unleashing policies that put us all at risk. We want an independent investigation into Russian hacking of our elections, the Trump-Putin connections, the enormous conflicts of interest from failure to divest his business interests, and we want AG Sessions to recuse himself from the investigation. We want Medicare and Social Security to be preserved and extended, but already fear these are on the chopping block of the Ryan legislative agenda.

We have issues and concerns, and we are appalled at the character and conduct of our new POTUS. We are for basic human and civil rights rights. We are citizens who want to be heard. And it is the job of our representatives to meet with us in person, to hear us.

Rev. Elaine Silverstrim