Yesterday morning, seven silent 11th district constituents stood with a sign saying “Meet Us! Not Just Our Kids” in 17 degree weather for the arrival and departure of Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen at Liberty Middle School in West Orange to do an assembly.
The silent group of parents came from the local grassroots Essex Rising community organization. Members of this group and of NJ11 For Change have been visiting the Congressman’s office requesting a town hall for three months. The Congressman has held several telephone “town halls,” calling some constituents during the evening hours, but has not held an actual town hall since 2013.
Constituent and Gregory School parent Carole Shlitt said, “Those of us who have traveled to his office and asked our Congressman to meet with us in person at Town Hall meetings cannot help but wonder why he has time to meet with students but not his constituents and voters.”
Gary Van Wyk explained, “as Representative Frelinghuysen’s constituents we are tired of him hiding from us while using our children to pretend that he is in touch with his constituents. We want him to attend a public town hall and explain why he has voted 100% in lockstep with Trump, when that does not represent our district.”
Protesters explained that they came to the school because the Congressman has not been willing to meet with parents. All of the protesters wanted to make clear that they were not being paid; in fact many missed work to come express their hopes for a meeting with the Congressman. The silent group of parents stood while the Congressman drove by.