SPOKANE, Wash. - Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers is back in Washington DC, but her constituents are still making their concerns known here at home.
On Tuesday evening, about 800 people packed a town hall to deliver their messages to the representative's staff.
People spoke on multiple issues ranging from the environment, to President Trump's tax returns, to bigotry and hate speech, to freedom of the press.
Three staffers from the Congresswoman's office were there to take notes to deliver a "full report" to her.
"I am respectfully but firmly asking Representative McMorris Rodgers to take my concerns upwards," one constituent said.
Rep. McMorris Rodgers, and multiple other representatives across the country, faced criticism for not scheduling in-person town hall meetings during Congress' scheduled recess.
"We really encouraged her to have a town hall last week when she was in town," said Collin Jergens with Fuse Washington. "That would've given her a chance to speak directly to her constituents."
In response, Fuse Washington, a "progressive advocacy" group, organized what it called a "People's Town Hall."
Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers' District Director Traci Couture thanked the group for the invitation to the town hall, and delivered a statement on behalf of the congresswoman, who will be back in Washington DC for the next six weeks.
"Although she can't be here with us today, she says all the time, hearing from everyone, no matter your political ideologies, backgrounds, or walks of life, make her a better representative for everyone in our community," Couture said.
Each speaker was given two minutes to share their thoughts.
"[The President is] not being honest," one man said, "and it's not right. Congress needs to force him to show his income taxes and we all want to see them."
"One thing I will not stand for is for her who is elected by the people to stand in silence and agree with what is taking place with our President," another woman said, referencing bigotry and racism.
"My call to action is to stand together as a community to demand the local and federal administration to stop spreading lies that we are a security threat when we are in reality tax paying, hard working, and loyal American citizens," said another speaker.
"There are 98,000 women in Washington who will lose access to health care if you defund Planned Parenthood," another speaker said. "Where will they go? What is your plan?"
"Don't be afraid of us," a speaker said. "Instead I implore you to be afraid of the direction our country is being taken and reverse that direction."
Those who didn't speak wrote written testimonies that will be given to the Congresswoman.
Today, Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers' spokeswoman Molly Drenkard released this statement:
"The congresswoman wants to hear from everyone in Eastern Washington, because hearing from all sides makes her a better representative. Congress is in session for the next six weeks, and the Congresswoman is hard at work in the nation’s capital advancing the priorities important to everyone here in Eastern Washington, like the future of health care, jobs and the economy, and fighting for those with disabilities. As she moves forward with everyone’s priorities, she is dedicated to finding common ground and bringing everyone to the table to have constructive, courageous conversations about how we can better our communities."
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