U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11), whose district includes the Sussex County towns of Byram, Hopatcong, Ogdensburg, Sparta and Stanhope, hasn’t held a town meeting in four years.
Republican lawmakers across the nation are reeling from record crowds of unhappy constituents challenging them at town hall meetings and many are responding by disparaging the attendees—Utah’s Jeff Chaffetz claims they are “paid protestors” and New Jersey’s Tom McArthur claims the meetings are being “hijacked.”
Those who show up insist they are just exercising their democratic right to express their views to those who govern.
Among them is NJ 11th for Change, a nonpartisan group that wants to (politely) discuss issues such as repeal of the ACA, which Frelinghuysen backs, with the congressman. The group’s “Friday’s with Rodney,” at which constituents come to his office hoping for a meeting, have swelled from three people showing up in January to 200 last Friday, but they’ve never met with the reclusive representative.
In addition, the grassroots organization has repeatedly asked for a Town Hall meeting, only to be rebuffed with a variety of excuses. One, they claim, was that “finding a town hall venue is difficult.”
To help with that problem, NJ 11th for change found venues in each of the four counties in the district, scheduled meetings at them, and invited Frelinghuysen to show up.
In Sparta, what one hopes will become a Town Hall with Rodney Frelinghuysen will be held on Sunday, Feb. 19, at the VFW, 60 Main Street, with seatings at 3 and 4:30 p.m. The meeting is open to all and tickets are free—but necessary to be seated.