This is a guest post by Lori Crook of Nelsonville
Our Congressman, Steve Stivers, came to Nelsonville yesterday, and we were ready for him.
The meeting was organized by city council as a public meeting to which he was invited, but was quickly taken over by Stivers’ office and turned into an exclusive, invite-only meeting, and…they controlled the guest list. Most of the elected officials and runners of agencies in Athens County were there, but no member of the public was allowed in.
As a result, many stood outside where every entering car had to drive by, holding a 40 ft long banner:
I managed to get into the meeting by a fluke, and had a speech prepared. The meeting focused on what to do with the local prison after it closes. Every idea was about services for the addicted and their families, which is a good thing. Many offered good statements and ideas, and a damning and very good speech was given by Jack Frech.
Taylor Sappington explained that it’s about money–we need a commitment of funds to get through the transition, and it may take years.
Unfortunately, I was last in line (on purpose?), and they closed it down just as I was up next. Time was up.
After the meeting, I confronted Stivers directly. I asked him why he hasn’t had a single public town hall, and why he only meets with people in private. He was angry, and started telling me about all of his tele-town halls. I told him that I have participated in those, and am never selected to ask a question. He told me that he will meet in private with any small group (ha!). I said our calls are never returned when we try to set up those meetings. Then he turned his back on me.
Stivers’ aide, Adam Rapien, promised a private meeting, and gave me his contact info to arrange it. Adam asked me, “who’s ‘we’?”
I smiled and said, “oh, there are about 3,000 of us in the district networked together.”
I really wish I had a picture of his face. It was like when you realize the godzilla foot is going to stomp on you and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Anyway, I heard chatter at the meeting about the protest outside. EVERYONE who attended saw the banner, and many honked and waved! Because it’s Athens County, and WE ARE AWESOME.
Thank you to everyone who was involved today. You can follow Lori on Twitter to find out what District 15 activists are up to next.
Thanks Lori! Is a member of the Resistance doing interesting work or running for office in your community? Let us know! And stay tuned for the launch of our sister publication, Swing State Voices. In the meantime, follow us on Twitter at @swingstatevoice