Grayson County Dems protest Congressman's lack of town hall meetings

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SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) -- Dozens of Grayson County Democrats are joining protests nationwide by marching outside the courthouse Thursday, in hopes of voicing their concerns to the district's U.S. Representative John Ratcliffe.

During this congressional recess, many representatives are holding town hall meetings. It's something Ratcliffe promised to do back in 2014, but these protesters said he's not holding up his end of the bargain.

"He has made excuses that he would not be here to hold a town hall meeting with the people, so therefore we decided to have a little rally here, to show how important the Affordable Care Act is to the people in his district," Grayson County Democratic Party member Tony Beaverson said.

Back in 2014, Ratcliffe's campaign website shows he pledged to hold a minimum of six town hall meetings each year. The Grayson County Democratic Party members said they have been asking Ratcliffe for a meeting, but the staff's response was not what they hoped.

"It's that he's been real busy with the new administration, and he just cant schedule one now," Beaverson said.

"Regarding the Affordable Care Act, regarding the Russian influence on the election, there are so many things that the constituencies need to discuss with him, and it was so disheartening to find that apparently, he's simply not interested," Jane Ann Epperly said, who lives in Grayson County and was at the march.

Democrat Tony Beaverson said they want to meet to show the importance of the Affordable Care Act.

As some were outside marching, others were inside talking with Ratcliffe's local staff, but not everyone at the courthouse was on the same page.

"As a husband and a father, it's my job to provide insurance for my family, it's not the government's job," Robert Powlison said, who lives in Grayson County.

In response to Thursday's protest, Ratcliffe's communications director said in an email: "He's voted for legislation to repeal and dismantle Obamacare multiple times. His position on this issue has been well documented, and he stands by it."

"The way I feel about town hall meetings is they're real good, unless you're on the democratic or liberal side, then usually all they do is scream and throw a fit," Powlison said.

The White House said some of the protests around the nation in town hall meetings have been manufactured by professionals. Beaverson promises that is not the case here.

"These are not paid protesters, no one was shipped in, these are all local folks who are affected or their families are affected, and they're very concerned about their healthcare," Beaverson said.

Though Ratcliffe's position on the Affordable Care Act stands, the protesters say getting a face-to-face meeting is still their goal.

Ratcliffe's staff said the last town hall meeting he held in Grayson County was in August, but he wasn't able to do one this week. They said he will continue to hold meetings throughout the 18 counties in his district, but none are scheduled at this time.

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