LITTLE FALLS, N.J.- Last night constituents of Republican Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen attended a town hall meeting hosted by a grass-roots group called NJ 11th for Change at the United Food & Commercial Workers Union in Little Falls.
The group has been showing up at Frelinghuysen’s office requesting a face-to-face with their congressman to discuss and address the concerns of his constituents in person. The group has also scheduled four town hall style meetings in the congressman's district but he has not accepted the invitation to attend.
“I am aware that certain groups have scheduled what they are calling ‘town hall meetings’ and I applaud the effort," Rep. Frelinghuysen said in a statement last week. "I am happy that they are exercising their First Amendment rights to engage on the big issues of the day and endorse their right to free expression. But my goal is not argument. My goal is to continue the same civil discourse I have had with my constituents over the years".
According to NJ 11th for Change, Frelinghuysen has not held a town hall meeting in his district since 2013.
A discussion was led by a panel of experts allowing the constituents to voice their concerns about the congressman's change from moderate Republican to a conservative with a 100 percent party-line voting record this past year.
Constituents at the meeting raised a variety of issues concerning the future of Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, immigration, climate change, and Women's Rights.
Karol Ruiz, an immigration lawyer, answered constituents’ questions about Trump’s recent executive orders on immigration. She stated, “undocumented immigrants are afraid to open their doors to police, and now to even report a domestic violence incident. So I too would like to know what Frelinghuysen is going to do to protect all victims of violence as he is required to do.”
In response to a statement made by the Whitehouse claiming these town hall crowds are partly “manufactured,” Elizabeth Juviler of NJ 11th for Change said, “There are more brand new activists since November than at any time since the Vietnam War or even before, people not only in New Jersey's 11th District but all over the country. Witness the millions of people who took to the streets from Montana to Miami on January 21; all of those people are still out here. Our group is expanding every day; it includes high school and college kids, seniors, republicans and Independents and many many people who have voted for Mr. Frelinghuysen in the past. People have lots of concerns. They are concerned about their health care, about the safety of their friends and neighbors; they are seriously concerned about the lack of transparency and accountability they feel from their Representative and we think he should address those concerns rather than dismiss them. We have always and will continue to work with Mr. Frelinghuysen's staff to make it as easy as possible for the people of this district to communicate with their elected representative.”
According to NJ 11th for Change, they are committed to advancing policies that are in the best interests of all. They encourage all residents to attend these town hall meetings in order to draw concern to the absence of the district's congressman. The groups gathers every Friday to deliver letters to the Congressman's staff.
The group holds Fridays with Frelinghuysen meetings at Starbucks 40 Park Place, Morristown, NJ 07860 at 11 am weekly, before walking to the congressman's office at: 30 Schuyler Place, Morristown, NJ 07860.