To the Editor:

There has been much discussion recently about representatives in our government who pretend to represent their constituents, but who have been corrupted by special interest groups or blind self-interest. Unfortunately, in the 11th District we have one such politician who, by his actions, is a significant part of the problem that we have in the federal government.  Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen is financed by big money corporate interests and now is so entrenched that he flatly refuses to hear the concerns of constituents who repeatedly reach out to communicate with him and express concerns.  Representative Frelinghuysen has organized his office in a manner designed to stonewall constituents and avoid productive discussion, leaving the people he purports to represent out in the cold while he ducks and dodges any engagement with the voters.   

As the new administration takes steps to implement its agenda, people in this District have questions and worries about what is to come.  For example, Representative Frelinghuysen voted to begin the process of eliminating health care for people under the Affordable Care Act and voters in his district will be directly impacted by his action.  People who face losing access to health care as a result of the Congressman’s vote have questions and naturally want to know from Congressman Frelinghuysen what his plan is to limit the damage that will certainly follow repeal of that law.  People in this District have been calling his office and writing letters to the Congressman for months now.  People in this District have also been visiting his office in Morristown regularly to ask what his position is on this and other very important issues.  Unfortunately, the Congressman has apparently instructed his staff to stonewall the voters in this District.  Every time and on every issue, when constituents call his office we receive the same reply from his staff.  The polite staff person says, “I have not had an opportunity to discuss that issue with the Congressman.  Please leave your name and contact information.”  And when we ask to speak with a person who focuses on a particular topic or who may know the answer to our question, we are placed on a polite hold for a few seconds and then told, “That person is away from their desk at the moment and I am not sure when (s)he will be available to speak.”  This is unacceptable.  

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Being a U.S. Congressman is not a birthright and is not an entitlement.  The voters in this district expect full engagement with us on the issues that matter and we expect that we should be able to hear about our Congressman’s positions on these very important issues.  The disdain with which the Congressman regards the voters who elected him is appalling and it appears that the Congressman believes that the voters in his District are not worthy of his time.   

I and many many others have asked that Congressman Frelinghuysen schedule a Town Hall meeting with the people in this District.  As every day passes we have more questions about how our federal government is representing us and we wonder whether our elected representatives are working in our best interest.  Those questions become more urgent as we continue to be ignored by our Congressman.  I simply do not understand why a democratically elected Congressman would ignore people who now fear the future and seek explanations regarding the direction our country is heading. We are entitled to discuss these issues directly with our Representative, yet he ignores us.  Rest assured we will not ignore him in 2018.  

Jonathan Redwine

West Orange