Funeral held for GOP senator town halls: report

Funeral held for GOP senator town halls: report

Protesters reportedly conducted a mock funeral spoofing Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle Lawmakers rally around cyber legislation following string of attacks MORE’s (R-Ohio) lack of town halls with his constituents.

Demonstrators gave satirical “eulogies” on issues including education, immigration reform and representative democracy during the event late Sunday, The Columbus Dispatch said Monday.

The Dispatch said about 200 people participated in the “In Memoriam” protest at First Unitarian Universalist Church.


“One of the reasons we styled this event as a memorial is that we wanted to drive home the seriousness of what I see as our senator’s so-far complicity in the erosion of the fabric of our democratic republic,” organizer Meryl Neiman said.

"[Portman] says that he’s held town halls, but a closed fundraiser or a speech at a manufacturing facility is not a town hall.”

The Dispatch said Sunday evening’s event was organized by Indivisible Columbus, a local chapter of a national organization opposing President Trump’s agenda.

The two-hour protest concluded with attendees leaving postcards of what they would say to Portman in a faux coffin near the speaker’s podium.

Portman’s press secretary said in an email that the Republican senator cares about the concerns of all of his constituents.

“Whether it’s visiting with Ohioans at a drug treatment center, a factory tour, or a town hall meeting, Rob continues to have a very active schedule,” Emily Benavides said. "He’s also taken the time to meet with demonstrators around the state and will continue to listen to their concerns.”

The Dispatch noted Portman has conducted multiple tele-town halls during which selected callers can ask anonymous questions.

Neiman said that format results in answers that are too short, scripted and indirect for Portman’s constituents.

Republican lawmakers have faced rising frustration at town halls this year on topics ranging from ObamaCare reform to Trump’s administration.