Protesters picket Heller appearance

Published: Feb. 22, 2017 at 6:00 PM PST
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A crowd of protesters lined a capitol city sidewalk Wednesday demanding a town hall meeting with Senator Dean Heller (R-NV), who might have faced the same sort of angry confrontation greeting some of his fellow legislators this congressional recess.

They came from different organizations, and the signs they carried addressed a variety of issues and complaints.

Some wanted him to know their stands on the Affordable Care Act; some were worried about the immigration issue. Molly Rose Lewis was wearing a pro-choice t-shirt.

"With the Supreme Court nominee at stake, with Gorsuch, we want to known if the senator is going to represent his constituents who are 74% pro-choice, she said."

But all seemed united on one thing. They'd like a word with their representatives, especially the senator.

"He has a lot to answer for right now after meeting with (newly-appointed Treasury Secretary Steve) Mnuchin, who foreclosed on hundreds of Nevada families," said Autumn Zemke of the Working Families Party.

Some told us this was not their first attempt to get his attention. They've joined in the picketing we've seen outside the federal building, where Senator Heller has his Reno office, and had attempted to deliver a message to him there.

"Actually we've been banned from the building at this point," said Candice Robinson. "So we're just trying to make our point that we need a town hall meeting. We need some democracy back in this state and in this country."

The senator appeared before a more reliably friendly crowd, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. Protesters remained outside, just as both expected.

"He has been hard to reach and he refuses to have a open town hall," says Lewis. "This is a ticketed event at which only a few people were allowed to have tickets to. So that's why so many of us are out here, trying to get his attention any way we can."

There were reports a few protesters caught Heller and Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV) at the back door and received a commitment to hold a town hall in the future. The senator's press representative confirmed that commitment.