Hamburg, NY - Congressional town halls have been a very touchy subject lately for one of our local representatives in particular. There was plenty of social media reaction this past weekend when Congressman Chris Collins said he will never do one. That prompted an East Aurora Woman to take her frustration with Collin's stand to new heights.
It's designed to catch your eye if you're driving by Southwestern and Mckinley. It's an electronic billboard calling on Congressman Chris Collins to hold a town hall meeting. Michelle Schoeneman, a teacher who lives in Collins' district in East Aurora, raised over $3,000 dollars in a go fund me account to pay for the one on Southwestern and another at the 90-190 split.
Schoeneman says "I'm hearing a lot of positive comments about the billboards. People agreeing wit the frustrating situation of not being able to contact our Congressman."
Schoeneman claims her calls to Collins' district congressional office have not been returned and that's why she feels a town hall meeting may be the only way to reach him. We already know Collins' comments on the subject. Here's what he told us on Saturday while attending this meeting with firefighters in Batavia. Collins says "What you get are demonstrators who come and shout you down and heckle you...they are not what you would hope they would be. "
And indeed some members of Congress around the country have faced loud protestors with plenty of shouting at recent Town halls. One Congressman was even escorted to his car by police to get away from an unruly crowd.
Schoeneman says she doesn't want to see that at Town Hall meetings either. "We're not interested in a shouting match. Absolutely not . We genuinely want him to see our faces. To know who his constituents are. And to respond to our very serious concerns about...for me...things like health care and education are my two top priorities."
We will point out that Congressman Tom Reed had held about 200 town hall meetings in his southern tier district. He has four more town halls set for this coming Saturday.
A spokeswoman man for Congressman Brian Higgins says he last held them in 2005 but found they were poorly attended. So they opted for staff-hosted Congress on your Corner events which Higgins sometimes attends.