Release: Town Halls behind gates and barbed-wire?
(October 6, 2014) Last week, Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire highlighted Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter's spokeswoman's false statement to the National Journal where she "dismissed charges that her boss is an absentee congresswoman as untrue and listed 10 public town hall events since Shea-Porter took office in 2013." This statement was contrary to the fact that throughout Carol Shea-Porter's term in the 113th Congress, she has refused to host public town hall meetings with her constituents.
As reported in the NHJournal, Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire asked Congresswoman Shea-Porter to release the list of alleged ten public town halls she claimed to have had. Considering her spokeswoman said they were "public," our organization also requested proof that she advertised each of these alleged ten town halls to her constituents to allow for their attendance either via her website, mail, an e-newsletter, or social media, prior to allof the events.
As a result of our pressure, Congresswoman Shea-Porter's office released what they claim were "ten public town halls" to the New Hampshire Union Leader, but they did not produce proof that any of the ten events were made available to the public prior. Here are the events:
- Hooksett GE Workers' Town Hall, June 13, 2014
- Birch Hill Town, May 12, 2014 - Shea-Porter listens to seniors discuss the Affordable Care Act
- Conway Veterans Town Hall, May 2, 2014
- Women's Economic Agenda Summit, March 21, 2014
- Portsmouth Veterans Town Hall, Feb. 25, 2014
- Dover Maple Suites Town Hall, Jan. 11, 2014
- AARP Telephone Town Hall, Dec. 10, 2013
- Manchester Veterans Town Hall, Aug. 21, 2013
- WMUR Town Hall, July 29, 2013
- Great Bay Forum, April 30, 2013
Upon our review, almost all of the events listed above were either not made available to the public on her office's website prior, or they were only made available to certain, pre-selected individuals, to control who would be attending.
For example, it would have been impossible for any member of the public, who wasn't an employee, to have attended the June 13th "Hooksett GE Workers' Town Hall," but Congresswoman Shea-Porter's office still listed it as a "public town hall" meeting. As a facility closed off to the public for security reason, GE is protected by barbed wire and a security gate with guards at all entrances to ensure only screened employees are allowed on the premises.
Derek Dufresne, spokesman for a Strong New Hampshire, released the following statement:
"It is clear that Rep. Shea-Porter's spokeswoman's statement to the National Journal was blatantly untrue and the events she is now trying to pass off as 'town halls' were anything but 'public.' Shea-Porter is feeling the pressure from Granite Staters after a year and a half of avoiding them, however her untruthful attempt to now try and convince her constituents that she was accessible, despite that fact that she wasn't, isn't going to quell their frustrations. If Congresswoman Shea-Porter thinks a meeting held in a heavily guarded facility that has a gate, barbed-wire, and only allows for employees to attend is a 'public town hall,' then she is more disconnected from New Hampshire values than I had originally thought."