Dozens demand town hall meeting with East Texas Congressman

Dozens demand town hall meeting with East Texas Congressman
Protesters lined the downtown Tyler square to demand a meeting with U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert. (Source: KLTV Staff)
Protesters lined the downtown Tyler square to demand a meeting with U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert. (Source: KLTV Staff)
(Source: KLTV Staff)
(Source: KLTV Staff)
(Source: KLTV Staff)
(Source: KLTV Staff)
Tyler police were called in to secure the event in Tyler on Feb. 21.(Source: KLTV Staff)
Tyler police were called in to secure the event in Tyler on Feb. 21.(Source: KLTV Staff)

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Dozens of East Texans spent midday Tuesday on the downtown square in Tyler demanding a town hall meeting with their congressman, U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert.

Gohmert was the featured speaker at a lunch hosted by the Tyler Young Professionals Network.

The crowd of approximately thirty protesters held signs and shouted their request outside the restaurant that hosted the event.

In a Facebook video of the congressman entering the event, he told protesters 'Good to see y'all. Thank you.'

He also said if the protesters were there wanting to keep the Affordable Healthcare Act, "Get 130,000 more and then I'll know a majority want to keep Obamacare."

Those who protested on the Tyler square came from all sections of Texas Congressional District 1.

"We don't consider a $15 a plate lunch a town hall meeting," Michael Strong, of Nacogdoches, said. "We don't consider a phone call which he had earlier this week a town hall meeting. We expect him to come out and meet his constituents face-to-face."

Several different groups combined to request a meeting with the congressman.

"We just really feel that there are a lot of constituents who are not being listened to and many issues that are not publicly being discussed," Mitzi Rusk said.

Many who were in attendance said Rep. Gohmert needs to hear the thoughts of all of those in District 1, not just those of his party.

"He needs to hear all of us, he represents all of us and there's a lot of issues," Roy Garza, of Garrison, said.

Rep. Gohmert released a statement regarding the lack of a face-to-face town hall that said in part:

Unfortunately, at this time there are groups from the more violent strains of the leftist ideology, some even being paid, who are preying on public town halls to wreak havoc and threaten public safety. Threats are nothing new to me and I have gotten my share as a felony judge. However, the House Sergeant at Arms advised us after former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot at a public appearance, that civilian attendees at Congressional public events stand the most chance of being harmed or killed—just as happened there.

Click here to read the entire statement from U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert.

High-ranking members of the Tyler Police Department were called in to secure the event. However, Teresa Risvold paid the fee to attend the luncheon where Gohmert spoke. She said the accusation that she and other protesters were paid are not true.

"I came out [of the lunch] and I just started crying because it's so sad, you know, there's so many people that just want to talk to him now," Risvold said. "He should be happy he's representing people that actually care and are following and want to meet with him."

Gohmert left the meeting waving as he exited the venue but made no indications a town hall would be in the foreseeable future. His office said in a statement he could reach thousands more people through a telephone town hall than in an in-person town hall.

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