Nevadans Hold Town Hall Without Absentee Congressman

Freshman Congressman Joe Heck (R-NV) rode the Tea Party wave in to office last November by promising a focus on jobs and the economy. Once in office, he has ignored that promise, saying that “the job of Congress is not to create jobs” and opposing efforts that would bring 17,000 high-paying clean energy jobs to his state.

To make matters worse, he has also been missing in action when it comes to meeting with his constituents. The only “public” event he has held was a luncheon at the Nevada Energy Forum, which is associated with the oil lobbying group American Petroleum Institute. Even though that event was free of charge, several constituents were kicked out by the event organizers – one simply because she was wearing a Sierra Club t-shirt.

His district, Nevada’s Third, has been wracked with foreclosures and unemployment, and his constituents were fed up with asking “Where the Heck is Joe?” In the absence of their representative, they decided to hold a town hall at his office – on their own.

Attendees spoke about Rep. Heck’s lack of focus on jobs, his assertion that Social Security is a “pyramid scheme,” and how his close ties to the oil industry that have led him to oppose growth industries from setting up shop in the Third District.

The constituents included Linda Overby, an unemployed union painter. “Now that they’ve hog-tied America by tying the debt ceiling to the budget, how are they going to fund any of these projects that would bring work to us? “ Linda asked.

Dick Collins, a senior and a member of the Association of Retired Americans, expressed anger over Rep. Heck’s vote for the “Ryan Plan,” which would turn Medicare into a privatized voucher system. “I’ve paid into Medicare since it was incepted back in 1965, and next month I turn 65,” he said, “And guess what? Now some turkey, with the help of Joe Heck, wants to take it away from me!”

I’m sure this isn’t the last time this sort of event will take place. Congressmen, instead of facing their constituents – their bosses, the people who provide their paychecks – are using all sorts of tactics to avoid contact with the people they represent. Some are charging admission, some are holding events in remote areas, and some are simply nowhere to be found. But the people are gathering anyway, and organizing.

But rest assured Joe Heck and friends: your bosses are angry with you, and hiding your face isn’t going to keep you from getting fired.