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Citizens Pressure Representative Hurd To Hold Town Hall Meeting

Congress is in recess this week and there’s been a call by some voters for officials to use the time back home holding town hall meetings. But around the country some town halls have become contentious as voters have shouted and taunted Republican representatives.   


Almost 80 constituents gathered at Representative Will Hurd’s North Side office to complain that Hurd has not planned town hall meetings for San Antonio. They wanted to talk to the Republican about their opposition to expanded deportations, the border wall, and GOP plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Toni Williams is a retired Air Force nurse.

“It’s important for him to have a town hall meeting because otherwise he’s living in a bubble, listening to the people who think like he does,” Williams says. “And he doesn’t get the opportunity nor take the opportunity to hear us, real people on the ground with real concerns.”

Hurd’s Chief of Staff Stoney Burke spoke to the constituents and says Hurd recently held 23 town hall meetings in six days in Texas. The last one in San Antonio was November 11th.

“One of the ways Representative Hurd is accessible—and we do this consistently across the district—and that can be via rotary club, local chambers of commerce, it can be individual roundtables on a specific issue like NAFTA, but also tele-town halls,” Burke says. “So town halls are important ways that we engage with our constituents, but it’s not the only way.”

The group “Indivisible” which grew out of a Democratic effort has been involved in some of the raucous town halls in other states. Indivisible was one of the organizers of the meeting with Hurd’s staff.  Hurd’s Chief of Staff says the representative is out of the country this week on business so he’s not available to hold a town hall meeting.


Louisa Jonas is an independent public radio producer, environmental writer, and radio production teacher based in Baltimore. She is thrilled to have been a PRX STEM Story Project recipient for which she produced a piece about periodical cicadas. Her work includes documentaries about spawning horseshoe crabs and migratory shorebirds aired on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered. Louisa previously worked as the podcast producer at WYPR 88.1FM in Baltimore. There she created and produced two documentary podcast series: Natural Maryland and Ascending: Baltimore School for the Arts. The Nature Conservancy selected her documentaries for their podcast Nature Stories. She has also produced for the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s Distillations Podcast. Louisa is editor of the book Backyard Carolina: Two Decades of Public Radio Commentary. She holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from University of North Carolina Wilmington. Her training also includes journalism fellowships from the Science Literacy Project and the Knight Digital Media Center, both in Berkeley, CA. Most recently she received a journalism fellowship through Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution where she traveled to Toolik Field Station in Arctic Alaska to study climate change. In addition to her work as an independent producer, she teaches radio production classes at Howard Community College to a great group of budding journalists. She has worked as an environmental educator and canoe instructor but has yet to convince a great blue heron to squawk for her microphone…she remains undeterred.