‘He’s ignoring his constituents': Volunteers swarm Toomey’s Pa. offices to ask for meetings

Posted on February 23, 2017

By Christian Alexandersen | calexandersen@pennlive.com
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on February 22, 2017 at 11:03 AM, updated February 22, 2017 at 3:02 PM

*This post was updated at 2:15 p.m. to include comments from U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey’s office*

After unreturned calls and emails, Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates is sending in dozens of volunteers to U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey’s offices Wednesday to try to set up meetings.

Volunteers have signed up to enter Toomey’s Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Allentown offices from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in hopes of reaching the Republican senator. This outreach comes after weeks of “Tuesdays with Toomey” protests and numerous calls and emails to his offices.

“Sen. Toomey’s Harrisburg office has three staffers and they are doing all they can to answer as many calls as possible while attending to their other duties,” said Toomey spokesman Steve Kelly.

“Like many of Sen. Toomey’s other offices across Pennsylvania, the Harrisburg staff is meeting with protesters that support Planned Parenthood through the day.”

In an Allentown church, hundreds gathered to relay their concerns about the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) under President Donald Trump, and to condemn Toomey’s continued support for repealing and replacing the law.

Leslie Hall, organizer of the Harrisburg event, said Planned Parenthood supporters have attempted to call and email the senator about plans to defund the organization. Since their calls and emails have gone unreturned, they decided to try to meet with the senator themselves.

“We really want to make sure that as constituents, our voices are heard,” Hall said.

About 40 volunteers are signed up to try to meet with the senator in Harrisburg. Hall said 50 volunteers are signed up to do the same thing at each of Toomey’s other Pennsylvania offices.

IMG_3551.jpegVolunteers stuck messages to a cutout of U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey in Harrisburg after calls and emails have gone unanswered. 

Hall said Wednesday’s efforts are to make sure that Toomey hears the concerns of those who want Planned Parenthood funded.

“We want to make sure Planned Parenthood is protected throughout the United States,” she said. “The services that we’re providing is reproductive health care for all of our clients. Thousands of people throughout Pennsylvania use Planned Parenthood.”

Republican lawmakers have been inundated with calls and emails from groups who want them to oppose certain legislation or executive orders from President Donald Trump. Some lawmakers — including Toomey — have traded in the town hall meetings for teleconference calls to avoid hostile audiences in their home states.

The Tuesdays with Toomey group organized a town hall for the senator on Tuesday. He did not show up, instead holding a private meeting with group representatives. Toomey posted a picture of the meeting on his Facebook page.

“I think he’s ignoring his constituents,” Hall said. “We’re here [Wednesday] to ask for those town halls so that he could meet with his constituents.”

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