“We made our voices heard”

by | Feb 24, 2017 | News, Spotlight

TWW Town Hall Spotlight: Hampton Roads, VA

This week, TWW member Lulani Mae attended a town hall event in Virginia Beach with  Republican Congressman Scott Taylor. This event was one of three town halls Congressman Taylor hosted in the conservative Hampton Roads, a coastal area with a huge harbor that is home to U.S. naval and air force facilities.  

Although Mae says she has always been passionate about politics, this was her first town hall meeting. The birth of her daughter has made the future seem that much more important. Mae confided that she had been a bit nervous about what kind of crowd she would encounter at the meeting. In the days leading up to the event there had been robo-calls going out to area constituents, urging them to come and support Taylor because he was expecting out of town protestors to be bused in.  

Mae is an admin for her local TWW group, which is linked to multiple progressive organizations nationwide. Her group had no reason to believe that there was any validity to this claim, so they came up with a plan and had their members coordinate with other groups to encourage people to show up wearing name tags with their zip codes. This strategy turned out to be fun. Mae arrived two hours early and found about a dozen more kindred spirits. Within an hour, hundreds of people showed up and there was a line circling around the school building. Mae estimates that the crowd was about 90% “resisters.” Luckily, Mae was right up front and made it inside with 750 others, while hundreds more remained outside chanting and protesting peacefully.

Congressman Taylor gave the audience the opportunity to ask about 30 questions. Mae reports that he “literally” answered less than five of the questions and gave “vague, elusive, typical politician responses” to the rest. Mae reflected that Taylor sometimes came off as “condescending” and did not seem well informed on some important issues.

Mae was disappointed to hear Congressman Taylor say that he will NOT support a bill restricting Steve Bannon from the National Security Council. Taylor also supports a bipartisan rather than an independent investigation of Trump’s culpability concerning Russian interference in our election. 

Congressman Taylor is a retired Navy Seal with national security experience. Mae had hoped he would have the courage to be a voice of reason in the Senate and push for an independent investigation — especially considering the Russian spy ship that was just trolling the coast of Virginia Beach. 

Despite the congressman’s lack of receptivity, Mae has decided that she will continue to “show up” at the offices of her local representatives on a consistent basis. She said: “The most important part is that we made our voices heard, and were able to get him on record on several issues we can hold him accountable for.” 

After the event, Mae continued to work with other activists to help them refine their questions for Taylor’s next town hall meetings. Mae’s local TWW group created a special subgroup on Facebook for Congressman Taylor called “Operation ST Town Halls.” This is where the organizers posted their action plans for the town halls, and they plan to continue to work in this subgroup to engage with Taylor’s constituents in the future.