Constituents in New Jersey’s 11th congressional district — which in Essex County includes parts of Montclair, Bloomfield, and West Orange, as well as Caldwell, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Fairfield, Livingston, North Caldwell, Nutley, Roseland, Verona, West Caldwell — visited Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen‘s Morristown District Office on January 13 to show their opposition of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Congressman Frelinghuysen says he supports repealing Obamacare when his Republican colleagues come up with a replacement plan, as well as saying he thinks President-elect Trump will do a good job as commander-in-chief, reports MyVeronaNJ.com.
The 33 people are members of NJ11th for Change, a grassroots, nonpartisan coalition “dedicated to advocating for all citizens of the 11th Congressional District through promoting political transparency by monitoring the positions and voting record of our congressional representative, by fostering productive citizen-to-congress communication, and by demanding public accountability.”
NJ11th for Change member and Montclair resident Debra Caplan, co-organized the #FridayswithFrelinghuysen visits together with Lauren Cailla, Marion Jacobson, and Lizzie Foley, all of whom are on the leadership team for the group. Caplan explains how the idea for the visits came about:
On Friday, January 6, Lizzie Foley asked a few people to meet her at Starbucks before heading over to Rep. Frelinghuysen’s Morristown office. She wasn’t sure if anyone would show up. Instead, several people came and strangers in Starbucks overheard the discussion and came up asking to find out more. The first #FridayswithFrelinghuysen action was so successful that 33 people came out the following week.
We decided to start visiting his office after Rep. Frelinghuysen did not respond to our many requests for a public town hall meeting. Our petition calling for a town hall now has over 800 signatures. Rep. Frelinghuysen says he is interested in hearing from his constituents, but he has not held a town hall since 2013. When members of our group call his DC and Morristown offices, regardless of what we are calling about, we are only told that the staffers “haven’t had a chance to speak with the congressman about that.” We would like our congressman to communicate with his constituents, to answer our questions and concerns, and to be transparent about his plans.
As constituents of the 11th district in New Jersey, what we want is an opportunity to be heard by our congressman and to be able to ask specific questions about his agenda. That is why we are visiting his office every Friday and will continue to do so until we have the opportunity to speak with him directly.
There are 42 people so far confirmed to go this Friday, January 20. NJ11th for Change plans on continuing to visit Congressman Frelinghuysen’s Morristown office every Friday going forward.