Constituents, Rep. Chris Collins Hit Stalemate Over His Lack of Town Hall Meetings

BATAVIA, N.Y. -- Angry constituents say they want an audience with Rep. Chris Collins, who has never held a town hall meeting since being elected to the position in 2012.

To get his attention, they gathered outside of a private brunch the Congressman held at a Batavia diner, where protesters claim tickets to get in were $55 each.

Renee Sutton of Canandaigua is just one of many who feel the move is unacceptable.

"I want a chance to ask him a question face-to-face,” said Sutton.

To be fair, Renee Sutton of Canandaigua has gotten a chance to ask Collins a question face-to-face. However, Sutton said she only got the opportunity because she appeared at a CNN town hall, hosted by Van Jones.

"As a constituent of his, I shouldn't have to go to CNN, I should not have to be in a special interest group with whom he wants to meet. Any citizen, any constituent that wants to engage with him, he should give them that opportunity," said Sutton.

Collins, speaking later in the day at a separate event, pointed to the demonstration as a clear indicator of American values at work

"I think what you're seeing is democracy. Now, you're not gonna see that in Russia. You're not gonna see that in Iran or North Korea,” said Collins.

But Collins added that he’s holding steadfast to his belief in one-on-one and small group meetings.

"It's just a shame that these protesters, and they're entitled to their view, want to stage the kind of disruptive rallies that they're doing, but that's their right. I would not find it a good use of my time to stand there and have people yell at me,” said Collins.

Mark Stefenilla, who joined the protest, believes this stalemate could lead to a messy outcome during next year's midterm elections.

"I'm pretty confident that he's going to lose his seat. I really am,” said Stefenilla.

In the meantime, they group said they’ll be holding a town hall for the 27th District with or without Collins on April 21st.

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