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Protesters asking Rep. Thompson to hold town hall might get their wish

Terry Melton holds up a sign as constituents gather outside of U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson’s office on Benner Pike on Feb. 23.
Terry Melton holds up a sign as constituents gather outside of U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson’s office on Benner Pike on Feb. 23. Centre Daily Times, file

A group of protesters gathered outside of U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson’s office near Bellefonte Thursday to ask the lawmaker to hold a town hall meeting, and that just might happen.

According to Thompson’s communications director, Renee Gamela, the congressman will be scheduling one in the future.

More than 20 constituents of the 5th Congressional District braved the wind and cold temperatures to voice their displeasure with what they believe is Thompson’s unwillingness to attend a town hall. It was the third time since President Donald Trump’s inauguration that the group has gathered at Thompson’s office.

On Saturday, the bipartisan group held a town hall meeting on the Penn State campus. More than 300 people attended, but Thompson, R-Howard Township, wasn’t one of them. A cardboard cutout of the congressman was placed behind a podium, and constituents took turns voicing their opinions in what Jared DeLoof said was a peaceful meeting.

“People came forward and were respectful and polite and spoke from the heart about the things that they care about and the things that they’re worried about,” DeLoof said. “And it was such a shame that he wasn’t there.”

Thompson was invited, but Gamela said because he was notified just a few days before the event, he wasn’t able to adjust his schedule and make the trip from Washington.

Thompson will be scheduling a town hall in the future, Gamela said, but the date, time and location have yet to be determined.

In the past, Thompson has held telephone town hall meetings and constituents were able to speak to him in a conference call-style setting. Thompson’s town hall will be held in a physical location, Gamela said.

The protests will continue until Thompson holds the town hall, DeLoof said.

“We’re not going to give up on this because all of us really feel like this is part of our civic duty,” DeLoof said. “Not holding a town hall is an issue that, regardless of party affiliation, all constituents can agree is something that is a basic responsibility of his job.”

Leon Valsechi: 814-231-4631, @leon_valsechi

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