North Texas Voters Demand More Town Hall Meetings with Congressmen

Some Texas voters are upset they are not getting face-to-face meetings with lawmakers while Congress is in recess and the lawmakers are in their home districts.

There were about 30 people standing outside of the office of U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Denton, demanding a town hall meeting Tuesday.

"We are taxpayers. We should all be heard," said Bill Featherstone, of Flower Mound.

Many in the group were concerned about the future of health care. Burgess is chairing a subcommittee that is working on a replacement for the Affordable Care Act.

"Last May I had a heart attack, and after it was all said and done, the bills were over $200,000. That's a lot of money for a middle-class family. If we didn't have our ACA insurance, that would have wiped out a good percentage of our retirement savings," said Kim Higgins, of Flower Mound.

NBC 5 reached out to Burgess about the protest. He released a statement, saying, "I have held multiple town halls every year since joining Congress. They have always been a part of my communications strategy with my constituents. I do plan on holding an in-person town hall meeting soon and I am working to identify a date and a location in which it can be conducted. Of paramount concern to me is the safety of all that attend such a function."

A spokesperson also tells NBC 5 that Burgess has met with some of the protesters.

Protesters also planned to be at an event where U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, is speaking Tuesday night. Sessions told NBC 5 in a statement, "During each District Work Period I travel around the 32nd Congressional District and meet with constituents, visit local businesses, talk to community and business leaders, and participate in a variety of events. I always enjoy meeting with constituents when I am home and I look forward to providing them with a legislative update at my Town Hall meeting on March 18."

We reached out to the remaining North Texas delegation, to see if they had planned town halls for this recess period, and asked if they normally schedule them this time of the year.

U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Forth Worth, said, in a statement, "I am hosting my next Coffee with your Congressman this Friday at Tia Dora's in Dallas from 7:30-9 a.m. That's an opportunity for residents to stop and chat with me on their way to work on how I can better represent them in Congress. I also vary my 'mobile town hall' events such as Congress on Your Commute, where I ride DART or the 'T' in Fort Worth and talk with residents on their way to or from work, Coffee with Your Congressman, and Congress on Your Corner, where I chat with residents at a local grocery store. I also host my signature "Town Halls" during the month of August during the longer District Work Period."

A spokesperson for U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas, says they are in the process of scheduling a telephone town hall that will take place in the next few weeks.

A spokesperson for U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Mesquite, says they typically hold multiple town halls a year and they are working on the schedule now.

A spokesperson for U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ellis County, says, "Congressman Barton will be hosting town hall meetings in April. Throughout his time in Congress he has hosted in-person meetings each April and August. This week he has a full schedule of constituent meetings."

A spokesperson for U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Fort Worth, says, "Congressman Williams is back in the district, and he has been meeting with his constituents throughout the week."

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