After months of requests from her constituents, Mohawk Valley Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) is holding an in-person town hall tonight. It's the first such event the Republican congresswoman has hosted since she took office in January. Tenney avoided the events earlier this year, saying the decision was related to safety because threats were made against her.
But not everyone is happy that her campaign is hosting the town hall, and that people must RSVP to attend. One of Tenney's Democratic opponents, Utica-area Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, says that means she will likely avoid answering tough questions.
“It’s really in my view a way to circumvent the public and put this town hall out to her strongest supporters, that way she can stack the deck in the audience and not face the tough questions, like why did you vote for a health care bill that takes medicine away from 23 million Americans,” Brindisi said.
Brindisi says another issue with Tenney's campaign hosting the town hall instead of her office is that the representative's staff will be prohibited from doing any constituent casework.
“I think town halls are a vital tool to be able to have unfiltered dialogue back and forth with your constituents and also an opportunity for them to be able to ask questions and then have staff available to follow up on any concerns,” Brindisi said.
WRVO reached out to Tenney's spokesperson and her campaign office but no one responded to repeated requests for comment.