Voters call for town hall meeting with Rep. McCarthy
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) —
Local voters say they're trying to get the attention and the ear of Bakersfield Congressman Kevin McCarthy. One group invited him to a Wednesday night meeting, and planned to hold it anyway, after he declined to attend.
Across the country, as Congress is on recess, town halls are drawing big crowds. Meanwhile, some observers estimate up to 200 lawmakers are refusing to hold any public events during the week they're back home in their districts.
In Bakersfield, a group called "Indivisible Citizens of California's 23rd Congressional District" set up a meeting in Park Stockdale for Wednesday night, but they say a spokesman told them the congressman could not be there.
Wednesday morning, McCarthy spokesman Matt Sparks sent Eyewitness News an email saying the congressman had a "previously scheduled charity event" for that evening.
The Indivisible group says they had hand-delivered an invitation to McCarthy’s local district office on Feb. 13 requesting to meet with the congressman "so that he could hear their concerns under the new Trump administration."
On Tuesday, several other local groups had rallied outside a Republican Party fund-raiser where McCarthy was set to speak. Some held signs like "Time to Listen," and "Talk to Us, Kevin."
From the group, "Young Progressive Coalition," Jessica Nix said they want access to their elected representative, and they want McCarthy to hear their concerns.
"We feel that Trump has his ear, big Washington has his ear, but does he really know what's going on here in the Valley with the people who put him into office," Nix told Eyewitness News.
Loud town hall meetings have been reported across the country, with angry voters saying they're worried about the Republican push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Others are upset over new policies on immigration.
In Bakersfield, several local groups say those issues will be the focus of a "vigil" planned for Thursday night, aimed at getting McCarthy's attention.
They plan to start a march just before 6 p.m. at the Town and Country Village Shopping Center, 8200 Stockdale Highway.
The Wednesday night meeting was set to start at 7 p.m. at the Park Stockdale Civic Association hall, 205 Rio Bravo Drive.
Eyewitness News asked to talk to McCarthy about not attending the meeting, and his spokesman said that couldn't be squeezed into his schedule.
At Tuesday's rally, Jessica Nix insisted they just want to be heard.
"This is not a partisan argument in any way, shape or form," she said. "When you're spending face-to-face time, and listening to your constituents, and showing that you actually care what's going on in your own backyard -- that's not partisan politics, that's good politics."