Congressman Reichert won't hold town halls, cites safety

The battle over repealing Obamacare comes to Issaquah Thursday, with hundreds of demonstrators planning to gather at the offices of Republican congressman Dave Reichert.

They're angry because he will not hold an in-person town hall to hear their concerns.

Reichert did hold a health care town hall in 2009, so why not this year?

“I think the times have changed,” he said. Rep. Reichert fears a peaceful gathering won't stay peaceful.

Asked if he is afraid to meet with constituents, Reichert responded, “Look, I was a cop for 33 years, I've been shot at, stabbed, I was in the middle of WTO as you know. I don't think people, anybody would believe I would be afraid to meet with anybody, anywhere, anytime as long as it's respectful discourse."

Instead congressman Reichert will hold a town hall on KCTS Facebook Live tomorrow.

That's won't satisfy Sammamish constituent Mardie Rhodes, a volunteer with the progressive group called FUSE.

“I think in this day and age it's really important for us to talk face to face. I also want him to know that I've seen what the affordable care has done for people. I've watched people who have gotten health insurance for the first time in their life break into tears.”

Protesters have already been outside congressman Reichert's office this week. FUSE believes more than 500 will be there tomorrow. They say none of them will be paid.

“I haven't seen a check from any paid organizers yet,” Rhodes said with a laugh. Asked directly if she will be paid, she responded, “No I am not. I am retired.”

Republican Reichert points out that Democratic Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray don't usually do big town halls either. However, Democratic House members Adam Smith, Rick Larsen and Pramila Jayapal are all doing town halls during the congressional recess.