A Republican Colorado representative did a runner from his own meeting with his own constituents after discovering hundreds of them waiting for him to give him a piece of their minds.
Americans are ticked off about the Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and aren’t afraid to tell their congressional representatives all about it. Rep. Mike Coffman from District 6 in Colorado called a meeting to talk to his residents and was then shocked to discover hundreds of them had turned up.
The residents attended the meeting in Aurora, Colorado, believing it was a town hall meeting called to discuss the future of the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare. The Republicans have still failed to come up with a workable replacement for the paradigm-shifting law, and are simply unable to give their districts a straight answer about what to do next.
The meeting was held in a library auditorium, and the congressman’s staff refused to let them in, according to NBC 9 News station KUSA.
Local woman, Krondia Siebert, attended to discuss her concerns about the planned Republican repeal of the act, and ended up acting as an on-the-spot community organizer when it appeared the representative’s staff had no idea how to deal with the crowd. Siebert told KUSA:
‘The representative didn’t have a plan. They expected just a small handful of people to show up. We were under the understanding it was a town hall meeting, and they were only allowing four people in at a time.’
The congressman saw a handful of people and then scarpered out the back door, caught in this embarrassing video tweeted by 9 News reporter, Nelson Garcia.
‘While more than 100 people were waiting to meet with him, Mike Coffman sneaks out early from his own community event.’
— Nelson Garcia (@9Storytellers) January 14, 2017
In a cosmic show of irony, the congressman’s access from the building and protection from the crowd was provided by the use of crime scene tape as seen in the video. It’s certainly a crime for a representative to run and hide from those he’s paid to represent.
Ben Stein, Rep. Coffman’s chief of staff, sent out a statement afterward, claiming the event was never meant to be a town hall. Stein wrote:
‘Rep. Mike Coffman routinely hosts constituent one on one meetings across the district. Constituents are invited to meet individually with the congressman to express their opinions, seek help with a range of issues, and discuss legislation. Given the volume of people who came, the Congressman met with four people at a time for five minutes each for a total of more than 70 constituents.’
One of those was Berthie Ruoff, who told KUSA that she depended on the ACA to get health insurance after her husband passed away. Ruoff told the reporter:
‘I am trying to get an answer and I can’t even get in.’
Some Twitizens who attended the event responded to Garcia’s tweet by complaining that there was plenty of room for the waiting crowd to sit, but the Rep’s staff made them stand outside in the lobby.
According to KUSA, the waiting crowd sang and chanted outside while Aurora police officers put the crime scene tape in place so Coffman could leave secretly a few minutes before the 3:30 p.m. time scheduled for the event to end.
One Aurora resident told KUSA:
‘We were told at one point everyone would get their time and then he sneaks out six minutes early. I think he couldn’t handle it.’
Stein promised in his statement that the congressman is inviting all those he didn’t get to speak with him to future events and that more time will be planned in the future, but Berthie Ruoff still has questions:
‘I am potentially going to lose my health insurance. I’ve had a preexisting condition. I’ve had breast cancer. What’s going to happen to me?
‘My spouse who had health insurance passed away. What do I do? You know, what am I supposed to do?’
You can watch KUSA’s report of the congressman’s escape below:
Featured image via screenshot