Last month, a group formed around The Indivisible Guide in the small city of Dexter, Michigan had their first organizational meeting. Over 150 people showed up. In fact, their “Indivisible Dexter” Facebook page now has nearly 650 people on it. That’s over 15% of the entire population of Dexter. The one question that seems to have this group’s attention above all others is “Where is our Congressman, Tim Walberg?”
In the lead-up to the November election, Tim Walberg appeared at campaign events around his sprawling 7th Congressional District, most often going to senior centers and sticking to the more rural and more conservative parts of the district, studiously avoiding the more liberal eastern part where Dexter is. And, of course, he never missed a photo op with a military veteran.
With the ascension of Donald Trump to the presidency, the man who once described himself as “a tea partier before there was a tea party” has gone missing. In fact, he hasn’t held a public town hall meeting since last spring. It’s not that Tim Walberg hasn’t been a busy Congressman. He is working over time to “defund” Planned Parenthood, repeal the Affordable Care Act with no replacement plan, and introducing legislation to stop California from taking steps to mitigate a looming retirement crisis.
Residents of the 7th Congressional District have been calling Walberg’s office, repeatedly asking for a meeting. Congress is on recess next week and this is a scheduled break described on the Congressional calendar as “District Work Week”. This is the time when most members of Congress are back in their home districts, meeting with constituents. Not so for Tim Walberg. Walberg’s staff claims he’s staying in Washington, DC “in case he’s needed for a Committee vote”. Here’s the thing: A quick call to the Committees that Walberg serves on (or even a glance at their calendars) makes it clear THERE ARE NO COMMITTEE MEETINGS SCHEDULED FOR NEXT WEEK. Why? BECAUSE IT’S DISTRICT WORK WEEK!!!
In other words, he’s lying to his constituents. Lying. A member of Congress is lying to the people he “represents”.
Let that sink in.
Yesterday, on Valentines Day, residents from the 7th District visited Walberg’s office in Jackson to deliver 20,000 candy hearts, asking him to meet with constituents and beseeching him not to vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. If the ACA is repealed, 20,000 7th District residents will lose their health insurance. The protest was organized by the Saline, Michigan group “Stronger Together”.
Here are some photos, courtesy of Anne Savage:
Walberg’s staff say he’s been holding “telephone town hall meetings” where he doesn’t have to face groups of constituents and he refuses to meet publicly. He will, they said, do “Skype meetings” with small groups.
Walberg isn’t the only cowardly Republican hiding from his constituents. David Trott is hiding, as well. In fact, there’s a website called “Where’s Dave Trott?”, an “all points bulletin” on the internet.
Yesterday, Trott’s constituents left him some Valentines with messages written on them:
When the Affordable Care Act was being debated, Michigan Democrats came home to their districts and met with their constituents. John Dingell held one that was so large due to tea party turnout that he held a second one immediately following it so that they could all be heard. And he faced brutal hostility. But he faced it and did not hide. His colleague at the time, Mark Schauer, held town hall meetings, too.
Tim Walberg and his Republican colleagues are cowards. They are happy to screw over their constituents to benefit corporations and to impose their conservative, religion-based ideology on the rest of us. But, when it comes to answering to the people they represent, they are terrified to do so.
These men and women face the ultimate meeting with their constituents every two years: elections. We’ll see you in November 2018, Congressman Walberg.
If you’d like to call Congressman Walberg to ask him to meet with his constituents, his office number is 517-780-9075.