Cotton office cancels meeting with citizen group, sparking protest | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Cotton office cancels meeting with citizen group, sparking protest

Posted By on Wed, Feb 1, 2017 at 9:12 AM

click to enlarge COTTON: Office dodges constituents.
  • COTTON: Office dodges constituents.
The citizen group Ozark Indivisible has a protest scheduled for 10 a.m. this morning outside of Sen. Tom Cotton's field office in Springdale. The group has been hoping to raise concerns about the future of the Affordable Care Act, the president's recent executive order enacting a travel ban, and other issues — but they say that Cotton and his team won't meet with them.

Caitlynn Moses, one of the founding members of the group, contacted Cotton's office on January 17. She originally asked for a townhall, but Cotton's team declined. However, staffer Morgan Farmer, a field representative, said that she would be happy to arrange a meeting and she would pass on concerns to Cotton. Farmer asked about the size of Moses's group; Moses said that she had about 20 people that wanted to come. Farmer replied that the maximum size of a group allowed would be five people because of the size of the office.

That meeting was scheduled for today at 10 a.m. Yesterday, it was abruptly cancelled without explanation. No mention was made of potentially rescheduling the meeting. Moses replied, "That is unacceptable, considering we scheduled this meeting two weeks ago." No response. She, as well as other members of the group, called multiple times and couldn't get anyone to respond.

"I was definitely frustrated," Moses said. "I’m not trying to be rowdy, I’m not trying to make their lives more difficult, I’m trying to voice my concerns as a constituent — which I have every right to do."

With their meeting cancelled, Ozark Indivisible is now planning a protest. They will be demonstrating just outside of Cotton's office. "We feel the need to talk to our congressman but we can’t reach him," she said. "If they won’t hear us face to face, maybe they’ll hear us outside." Hundreds of people have indicated interest in attending on the group's Facebook page.

I asked Farmer and Cotton's spokesperson Caroline Rabbitt for comment yesterday and have received no response.

Republican lawmakers have been reluctant to hold town halls because of the potential for bad optics. I expect we'll be seeing more of this.

Ozark Indivisible also held a demonstration at Sen. John Boozman's Springdale office yesterday, protesting Trump's cabinet nominees. Meanwhile, in Washington D.C. yesterday, dozens of protesters were arrested outside of Sen. Orrin Hatch's office. They were peacefully gathered in the hallway, hoping to raise concerns about the future of the ACA.

UPDATE: According to the Little Rock field office, Cotton is not allowing any constituents in to his offices because of "recent threats."

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