A coalition of CD5 Grassroots groups signed and delivered the letter below to Rep Josh Gottheimer asking for ‘True Town Hall’. They want it in January and in a room at least big enough for 200 people. And they want time for constituents to ask questions. They’re even offering to help find and secure the venue. And, needling the just-re-elected incumbent, they point out that incoming House freshman Mikie Sherrill in the neighboring CD11 district already scheduled a January town hall, and she’s not even sworn in yet. They groups are grateful for the ‘Cup of Joe’ meetings that Gottheimer has had, but point out those small gatherings are more like individual constituent meetings instead of the inclusive community gathering they feel is needed.
A group called Ridgewood JOLT – Join Organize Lead Teach – posts that they want to hear from him about his failure to sign the petition to bring the net neutrality vote to the floor and his leadership of the Problem Solvers Caucus. This week, Demand Progress targeted Gottheimer as one of the 16 Democrats Helping Trump and Ajit Pai Kill Net Neutrality, citing his contributions from the ISP industry as the reason. If it is the reason, Gottheimer is selling himself cheaply. His haul from internet service providers like Verizon or AT&T is only $72,380. Compare that to two others in that rogues gallery; Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) at $408,000 or Rep. Robert Brady (D-PA) at $276,550. [Here is Gottheimer’s statement on net neutrality].
Gottheimer should do the town hall. Every member of Congress should do town halls, and particularly when they are requested – politely and respectfully in this case – by dozens people representing local community groups, including local Democratic organizations, local Action Together groups, and local Indivisible. It would be instructive for Gottheimer to remember that those groups likely contributed to the blue wave that protected his re-election. And instructive for him to remember that just a few miles away, refusing to make himself available in open town hall settings is what forced Rodney Frelinghuysen to abandon re-election at the very moment he was at the top of his game as House Appropriations Chair.
Below the 12/14 letter sent Gottheimer. And the signees.