When their reps ignored requests for town hall meetings, these constituents got creative.

The U.S. House and Senate broke for a recess this week with the expectation that representatives will return to their states and districts to engage with constituents.

Recent town halls have been packed, loud, and passionate as citizens push back on the Trump administration's executive orders, troubling Cabinet picks, and the Republican-led efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Representatives have left events early, snuck out the back door, or simply refused to schedule anything, forcing their constituents to find them.

But people around the country are fighting back and demanding town halls.

As they should. Congresspeople work for you. Here are 11 creative options constituents have tried so far to get their representatives' attention.


1. Guest of honor won't RSVP? Hold the party without them.  

Yes, having your representative attend a town hall would be ideal, but if they can't or won't show up, host the event without them. It's still an opportunity for constituents to meet, share concerns, and mobilize for action. Constituent-led efforts in Tampa, Florida; Loudoun County, Virginia; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Vista, California, are underway this week.

2. Take the town hall to them!

If your rep won't schedule an event, take your concerns straight to them. That's what constituents of Reps. Kevin McCarthy and Devin Nunes did when they gathered outside a fundraising dinner the Californian Republicans were attending in Bakersfield and demanded a town hall.

Constituents gather, hoping to share their concerns with McCarthy and Nunes and push them to schedule official meetings. Photo by Lynn Scotts Runyan, used with permission.

3. Write a song and make a music video.

That's what the people of Martin County did. Their parody of Meghan Trainor's "Dear Future Husband" asked Rep. Brian Mast (R-Florida) to come to Martin County for a town hall meeting. Mast announced a veteran's town hall in the middle of the afternoon on a Friday (ignoring the song's request), but it's a start.

4. Get other people to keep an eye out.

Rep. Paul Cook (R-California) hasn't yet held an in-person town hall, and his district is starting to get worried. They have a website devoted to finding him, and a creative search party taped a few missing flyers to milk cartons at a local store. Can't hurt right?

5. Sign and send!

Citizens around the country are signing petitions requesting their representatives come home to host an in-person town hall. This petition to Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) has more than 20,000 signatures. A similar petition to Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) has more than 32,000.

Gardner (left) and Blunt (right). Photos by Alex Wong/Getty Images and Mario Tama/Getty Images.

6. Make a video message ... or several.

Twitter user @madeline_says has made and sent multiple requests to her congressman, Rep. David Rouzer (R-North Carolina). Whether on her way to work or after a run, Madeline has made time to reach out to her elected official. It's a shame he can't be bothered to do the same for his constituents.

7. Book a standing appointment with your representative, whether they asked for one or not.

Following last year's election, the people behind the grassroots group Tuesdays With Toomey host protests every Tuesday at the Pennsylvania senator's offices across the state. Someone even brought a sousaphone. Things are getting serious.

8. Say it with flowers or maybe a nice card...

For Valentine's Day, Twitter user @TechnicallyADoc asked Sens. Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham (both R-South Carolina) out on a date — to discuss health care. Scott piggybacked on Rep. Mark Sanford's town hall on Feb. 18, but no word from Graham.

9. ...or perhaps thousands of cards!

You know what's better than one card? Thousands of postcards delivered to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan requesting an in-person town hall in his southeastern Wisconsin district.

We're gonna need more trucks. Photo by iStock.

10. Make your message larger than life.

If the 70,000+ postcards don't get Ryan's attention, this billboard in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin, may do the trick.

11. A surefire way to get your representative to come home? Vote them out.

If they refuse to listen, if they refuse to meet, if they refuse to acknowledge they work for everyone and not just the people who put them in office, then let them know you will do everything within your power to relieve them of their post.

If they're not up for the challenge of being an elected official in the age of resistance, then find and support someone who can. Maybe it's you!

More
via bfmamatalk / facebook

Where did we go wrong as a society to make women feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public?

No one should feel they have the right to tell a woman when, where, and how she can breastfeed. The stigma should be placed on those who have the nerve to tell a woman feeding her child to "Cover up" or to ask "Where's your modesty?"

Breasts were made to feed babies. Yes, they also have a sexual function but anyone who has the maturity of a sixth grader knows the difference between a sexual act and feeding a child.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Instagram / JLo

The Me Too movement has shed light on just how many actresses have been placed in positions that make them feel uncomfortable. Abuse of power has been all too commonplace. Some actresses have been coerced into doing something that made them uncomfortable because they felt they couldn't say no to the director. And it's not always as flagrant as Louis C.K. masturbating in front of an up-and-coming comedian, or Harvey Weinstein forcing himself on actresses in hotel rooms.

But it's important to remember that you can always firmly put your foot down and say no. While speaking at The Hollywood Reporter's annual Actress Roundtable, Jennifer Lopez opened up about her experiences with a director who behaved inappropriately. Laura Dern, Awkwafina, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong'o, and Renee Zellweger were also at the roundtable.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Life for a shelter dog, even if it's a comfortable shelter administered by the ASPCA with as many amenities as can be afforded, is still not the same as having the comfort and safety of a forever home. Professional violinist Martin Agee knows that and that's why he volunteers himself and his instrument to help.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

Believe
True
Macy's