Democrats in Washington County plan to ramp up criticism of what they call a lack of access to their Congressional representative, U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, starting with a Tuesday-afternoon protest at his Washington County district office.
“It’s been 328 days since he took office and he has not had any town halls,” said Sharon Laffey, a social worker in Buffalo Township who organized the “Where’s Guy?” protest. Laffey said Reschenthaler’s office has told her to sign up for his e-newsletter when she asks about upcoming town halls.
“I grew concerned about the fact that he’s not having a town hall when he’s in his home district,” Laffey said. “I know congresspeople have town halls all the time. Conor Lamb has very frequent town halls.”
Reschenthaler is far from the first elected Republican to be targeted with such protests. After President Trump's election in 2016, Democratic activists began seeking out Republican town halls to raise concerns, emulating similar "Tea Party" protests by conservatives during the Obama Administration. Republicans who have declined to hold the gatherings, like U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey or former Congressman Tim Murphy, have been the subject of weekly demonstrations with names like Mondays with Murphy and Tuesdays with Toomey.
Laffey is a Democratic committee chairperson in Buffalo Township and a member of the Washington County Democratic Committee, though she said Tuesday’s rally is not affiliated with the committee. She said Reschenthaler's office told her held an agriculture town hall with farmers and also held a tele-town hall.
Reschenthaler's office documented his October meeting with farmers by posting photos on Facebook photos. It’s unclear when Reschenthaler held a tele-town hall. There appear to have been no announcements by his office, which did not respond to a request for comment for this story.
Laffey said she’s most concerned about Reschenthaler’s stance on issues of national interest, such as the impeachment investigation against President Trump, and the Congressman’s support for the administration’s immigration policy at the southern border. Laffey grew particularly frustrated with her representative when he called Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election “un-American” during Mueller's testimony before the House Judiciary Committee in July.
“[Reschenthaler] is very vocal in parroting the White House,” Laffey said. “He is very vocal in calling the investigation going on right now ... a sham. If he would just not say anything about the things that are going on nationally that are clearly wrong, that would be one thing. But he goes out of his way to perpetuate the lies that are coming out of the White House.”
Laffey said she wants Reschenthaler to know there are people in his district who don’t agree with him, though she understands Democrats are significantly outnumbered.
Reschenthaler's district is made up of rural southwestern Pennsylvania counties where Trump racked up two-to-one margins in the 2016 election. Reschenthaler won his first Congressional race over Democrat Bibiana Boerio two years later by nearly 16 percentage points.
“This is a red area, I get that,” Laffey said. “But we need to have somebody who represents us who is not carrying the water for Donald Trump no matter what he says or does.”
The Tuesday afternoon event is to include a photo of Reschenthaler with President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudolph Giuliani. Laffey said that’s emblematic of Reschenthaler's priorities.
“There’s also a picture of him on Air Force One, there’s a picture of him with Donald Trump and they’re both giving thumbs up,” Laffey said. “There are several pictures of him on Fox News. Well, where is he in our district?”
Laffey planned the protest when Congressional representatives are scheduled to be in their home district based on the House calendar. She said she plans to hold a follow-up event in December.