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Midstate US reps. have no in-person town halls planned for Feb.

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Feb 14, 2017 1:21 PM
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Photo by AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

People shout to Rep. Jason Chaffetz during his town hall meeting at Brighton High School Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. Hundreds of people lined up early for a town hall with Chaffetz on Thursday evening, many holding signs criticizing the congressman's push to repeal the newly-named Bears Ears National Monument in southern Utah.

(Harrisburg) -- Recent news reports have shown angry crowds at town halls around the country, questioning representatives about the Affordable Care Act and Congress's oversight of President Donald Trump.

But the midstate's congressional delegation is keeping a low profile.

Town halls are usually scheduled when Congress is on break, like later this month.

Yet only one in-person event has been announced among the midstate's eight Republican US representatives - a forum on the opioid crisis, hosted by Congressman Lou Barletta.

Other less personal events have been planned, like Wednesday's virtual town hall with Representative Scott Perry, set to take place on Facebook Live.

Milan Mitrovich from Springettsbury Township, York County is a registered Democrat who lives in Perry's district.

He says it's good Perry is at least holding an event, but it's not enough.

"To me, it's just representative of cowardice. It's simply to me, says that he's afraid to meet people in-person. It's hiding behind a virtual wall," says Mitrovich.

"Twitter can communicate some things. Emails can communicate some things. Phone calls can get the message across. But there's nothing like looking a constituent in the eye and hearing their concerns. Especially if you get a diverse group of constituents in there," adds Mitrovich.

Perry's office says he's planning in-person town halls in the coming months, and has held 18 over the past four years. 

Find comments from staff with Senator Toomey, Senator Casey, Rep. Perry, Rep. Costello and Rep. Marino below.

All others didn't respond to a request for comment about their town hall plans.

Full statement from Senator Bob Casey's office:

"We host monthly coffees with constituents in DC and are in the process of planning town hall-style discussions in Pennsylvania."

Full statement from Senator Pat Toomey's office:

"Senator Toomey has been to all 67 counties across Pennsylvania at least twice over the past six years. He's held 14 town hall meetings.  These have traditionally taken place in the summer months, with the most recent meetings coming in Sunbury and Warren in 2015. Senator Toomey has also hosted nearly 50 tele town hall meetings over the past three years, which has allowed him to communicate with more than 3 million Pennsylvanians. Currently, there are no town hall meetings on the Senator's schedule.  If he does schedule town hall meetings, there will be notices in the press, on the website toomey.senate.gov, and on social media."

Full statement from Rep. Perry's office: 

"Congressman Perry regularly conducts Facebook Town Halls, Telephone Town Halls and In-Person Town Hall meetings. In the four years since he's been in office, he's conducted 18 in-person town hall meetings in all four counties; as well as multiple Facebook and Telephone Town Halls. He'll continue to do so in the weeks and months ahead. In addition, he's met with hundreds of constituents who asked to sit down with him individually to discuss matters before Congress."

Full statement from Rep. Marino's office:

"Over the past two years, we have held many town hall meetings throughout our 15 county district.  In addition we have also held numerous Tele-Town hall meetings that allow thousands of constituents from across the district to hear what is happening in Washington DC and ask Congressman Marino questions.  We are currently looking for a date to hold our next town hall."

Full statement from Rep. Costello's office:

"Rep. Costello has a full slate of constituent and community events planned, including meetings in all three of his offices, site visits and policy roundtables, and town halls with students, seniors, veterans, and businesses - just to name a few - as he has done throughout his time in Congress. In fact, last Congress, Rep. Costello held over 600 of these types of community-based opportunities to communicate directly with constituents - and that doesn't account for the almost 700 individual constituent meetings where he heard their valuable feedback. In just over a month since the 115th Congress kicked off, the House has been in session and voting on 20 of those days, yet Rep. Costello has already been to each of the four counties in his Congressional District to meet directly with constituents and community organizations. Rep. Costello is looking forward to providing many opportunities this year to engage directly with his constituents."

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