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!

True
Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

Keep Reading Show less
via Tom Ward / Instagram

Artist Tom Ward has used his incredible illustration techniques to give us some new perspective on modern life through popular Disney characters. "Disney characters are so iconic that I thought transporting them to our modern world could help us see it through new eyes," he told The Metro.

Tom says he wanted to bring to life "the times we live in and communicate topical issues in a relatable way."

In Ward's "Alt Disney" series, Prince Charming and Pinocchio have fallen victim to smart phone addiction. Ariel is living in a polluted ocean, and Simba and Baloo have been abused by humans.

Keep Reading Show less
True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less

Heather Cox Richardson didn't set out to build a fan base when she started her daily "Letters from an American." The Harvard-educated political historian and Boston College professor had actually just been stung by a yellow-jacket as she was leaving on a trip from her home in Maine to teach in Boston last fall when she wrote her first post.

Since she's allergic to bees, she decided to stay put and see how badly her body would react. With some extra time on her hands, she decided to write something on her long-neglected Facebook page. It was September of 2019, and Representative Adam Schiff had just sent a letter to the Director of National Intelligence stating that the House knew there was a whistleblower complaint, the DNI wasn't handing it over, and that wasn't legal.

"I recognized, because I'm a political historian, that this was the first time that a member of Congress had found a specific law that they were accusing a specific member of the executive branch of violating," Richardson told Bill Moyers in an interview in July. "So I thought, you know, I oughta put that down, 'cause this is a really important moment. If you knew what you were looking for, it was a big moment. So I wrote it down..."

By the time she got to Boston she has a deluge of questions from people about what she'd written.

Keep Reading Show less

Schools often have to walk a fine line when it comes to parental complaints. Diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and preferences for what kids see and hear will always mean that schools can't please everyone all the time, so educators have to discern what's best for the whole, broad spectrum of kids in their care.

Sometimes, what's best is hard to discern. Sometimes it's absolutely not.

Such was the case this week when a parent at a St. Louis elementary school complained in a Facebook group about a book that was read to her 7-year-old. The parent wrote:

"Anyone else check out the read a loud book on Canvas for 2nd grade today? Ron's Big Mission was the book that was read out loud to my 7 year old. I caught this after she watched it bc I was working with my 3rd grader. I have called my daughters school. Parents, we have to preview what we are letting the kids see on there."

Keep Reading Show less