A defensive, and still elusive, U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11) recently issued a press release claiming that despite his refusal to show up at Town Hall-style meetings throughout the county, his pre-arranged visits with select groups and bizarre “telephone town halls” keep him apprised of the wishes of his constituency.
Which reacted with another “Where’s Rodney?” demonstration outside the congressman’s Morristown office.
NJ 11th for Change, a grassroots organization concerned about Frelinghuysen’s swing to the far right over his 12 terms, had invited him to meet with constituents in each of the four counties in the district.
In Sussex County, two meeting sessions on Sunday in Sparta will filled to capacity, but none of the chairs held Frelinghuysen, who has offered several excuses for not meeting with his public face to face, from claiming the venues were not disabled accessible (not true) to saying he wants to listen, not “argue.” He visited two hand-picked Sussex County venues—Pope John High School and a veteran’s healthcare facilities—later in the week.
While NJ 11th for Change and affiliated groups charge that Frelinghuysen, like many House Republicans across the country, is simply unwilling to hold himself accountable to residents of his district, the congressman insisted that his “telephone town halls” show his commitment to open dialogue.
Under a rather complicated system, the telephone “meetings” involved calling selected residents for a conference call at 5 p.m. on a weekday, severely limiting the number of people who could participate. Also, the congressman seems unaware that few people answer cellphone calls showing an unfamiliar, out-of-state number.
Additionally, no recordings or transcripts have been made available to the public or the press.
Constituents continue to plan meetings and rallies designed to hold Frelinghuysen accountable for his now 100-percent-GOP-party-line record, and to share their sentiments, should he care to read them, on NJ 11th for Change’s Facebook page, most of which run along the lines of a comment by “Julia Elizabeth;” This dude is supposed to represent all in his district, which means he should be showing up and answering to his constituents. Not acceptable to dodge us. I'm a voter in your district. Do better or go home.”