February 16, 2017

[Watch] Rep. Steve Pearce (R) office locks constituents out, then sneak out the back door to avoid answering questions on Trump

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At a time when Republican Congresspersons are under fire for cutting off town halls and canceling public events, New Mexico’s sole Tea Party Congressman just went one step further.

Thursday afternoon, over fifty people from around New Mexico’s Second Congressional District – some traveling from more than 100 miles away – came together at the Las Cruces field office of their Congressional Representative, Steve Pearce, during office hours to ask for a chance to talk to their Congressman face-to-face about his support for President Trump.

But the staff snuck out the back door then refused to open the front door or take phone calls. Then it turned into a thing.

It all started with an awkward Telephone Town Hall 

Organizers came together today after Pearce’s constituent telephone town hall on Wednesday night got off to an awkward start.

Several self-described Democrats took to Twitter asking why they were never called for the event.

Then they cut off a critical caller and things went down hill from there:

Locked out

So, on Thursday, folks who were locked out of the call organized and decided to go talk to Pearce’s staff in person.  The event was shared online so staff could have easily known they were coming.

Promptly at 1:30pm, just as constituents were arriving to meet, the office locked the door.  ProgressNowNM’s local organizer Lucas Herndon caught Pearce’s outreach coordinator, Peter Ibarbo, slunk out the back door, jump in his truck and drive away.

Driving away, Ibarbo tells constituents that staff is in the office to meet with those gathering. BUT… they found the doors locked and staff refused to answer the phone.

Watch Pearce’s staff sneak out the back door as constituents arrive to question them about Pearce’s support of Trump.

They didn’t leave

For almost an hour, a growing crowd of fifty of Pearce’s constituents and local media (some encouraged by Facebook live videos spread online) were locked out of his office, even though a staff member was present to receive the dozens of letters people brought with them, or to hear people’s thoughts and comments from around the district.

Voters eventually moved to the sidewalk and began a peaceful demonstration there for about an hour. Local police arrived briefly.  Several participants publicly speculated that staff in Pearce’s office may have called police to break up the growing demonstration.

Officers spoke briefly with organizers who explained that people were waiting to be let into the office or remaining on the public sidewalk.  The officers left without incident.

Republicans across the country almost universally ended public town halls after #resist voters showed up in early February to challenge GOP Congressional support for Trump.

Instead, they started holding telephone events to manage questions and time.  Pearce’s constituents just showed a new way to fight back.

Previous coverage of Steve Pearce:

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