May 25, 2017
Social activist groups from around the region have come together to organize a town hall for a senator, despite the fact that he can't make the event.
Indivisible PHL, Tuesdays with Toomey, Philadelphia United for Progress, Moving Philly Forward and others will host what was originally billed as a "with or without you" event on June 1, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m at the Church of the Holy Trinity at 19th and Walnut streets.
Toomey did not respond to an invitation from the groups, according to a news release sent Thursday morning, although Steve Kelly, a spokesperson for the senator's office has since confirmed to PhillyVoice that the Pennsylvania Republican has a prior obligation on the date.
"Over the past six years, Sen. Toomey has conducted more than 60 town halls, of all varieties," Kelly said in an emailed statement sent Thursday afternoon. "Sen. Toomey has also hosted meetings this year with protesters in five cities across Pennsylvania and in Washington. While he appreciates the invitation to attend Indivisible’s town hall, he has a longstanding obligation on June 1st and our office made the organizers aware of this earlier today."
"Thousands of concerned constituents have taken time from their jobs and busy daily lives to call, email, and write to Sen. Toomey voicing concerns on health care, workers’ wages, equality, immigration, Russian meddling, and other critical issues they face due to the current administration," the groups said in the release. "Many have gone to Sen. Toomey’s office to voice these concerns in person, often being turned away without a meeting."
Toomey has faced criticism in recent month for never having held an in-person, town hall meeting in Philadelphia despite calls to do so from his constituents.
More than 200 people have marked "going" on the town hall organizing groups' Facebook event.