Rally held to address concerns with Rep. Glenn Thompson

Jared DeLoof speaks to community members wishing to speak with U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017 at Thompson's office.
Jared DeLoof speaks to community members wishing to speak with U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017 at Thompson's office. psheehan@centredaily.com

A group of constituents rallied Thursday at Congressman Glenn Thompson’s office in an effort to convince him to hold a town hall meeting where he can address their concerns.

More than 20 people squeezed into the lobby of Thompson’s office, but he was in Erie speaking with constituents, according to Renee Gamela, communications director.

Susan Gurekovich, academy coordinator and caseworker, and Anthony Stem, an intern, took notes while members of the group voiced their concerns over Thompson’s recent voting record in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Jared DeLoof, a 27-year-old State College resident who organized the rally said he and other members of the group have placed several calls to Thompson’s office over the past two weeks in an effort to schedule the town hall, but they have received no call back.

“We feel like our representative owes us a face-to-face conversation and a chance for the community to come together and to talk about the issues and express our concerns,” DeLoof said. “We just feel as if we are not being heard.”

Some of the issues the group voiced concern over were Thompson’s recent vote to eliminate a regulation that prevented coal mine debris from being dumped into streams and his support of repealing the Affordable Care Act.

“I’m diabetic. I have a pre-existing condition and insulin is thousands of dollars a month,” DeLoof said. “If the Republicans successfully repeal Obamacare, I’m looking at not being able to afford a lifesaving medicine that I need on a daily basis.”

Anthony J. Zarzycki, a sophomore at Penn State, said he has called Thompson several times and has not received a return phone call.

“I’ve also written letters to Thompson, but all I have gotten in return are form letters that say, “Thank you for your concern,” but never actually address my specific concerns,” Zarzycki said. “It just seems like his policy making is being drafted around parties and politics and not around people.”

The group has been requesting a town hall for the past two weeks, but were told by Thompson representatives that town halls don’t draw enough interest, according to DeLoof. He said he hopes the rally shows Thompson there is interest and people would show up for it.

Thompson issued a statement Thursday in response to the rally.

“While it is refreshing to see people engaging in the political process and exercising their First Amendment rights, it would be more beneficial to schedule a meeting with me,” Thompson said in the statement. “That way we can sit down and have a discussion on the issues that are most important.”

Leon Valsechi: 814-231-4631, @leon_valsechi