Dear Representative Tenney,
I had to laugh when I heard your interview about “paid people” who are targeting your seat and the organization Indivisible, who has “set up offices,” in your district with the “primary purpose (of) retake(ing) the house on the Democratic side.” I’m a long time resident of the 22nd district, a member of Indivisible and I wish someone were paying me for being a responsible citizen. Certainly, in these times caring about our fellow Americans and their well-being; standing for the rights and opportunities of all people; and protecting our Constitution feels like a full-time job. But these are not the tasks of “paid” protesters. Rather they are the duties of American citizens, duties we may have been too inattentive to in the past. I want to be clear that I am not interested in coming to a Town Hall meeting to shout at you, but I am interested in being heard and having my views respected. I have a right and duty to express my concerns.
In the interview you went on to express your desire that your staff still be able to help those in need, including “senior citizens who need help with Social Security,” and “our very very large veterans community who all need assistance.” Ironically, these are many of the same issues that your constituents and members of Indivisible are concerned with and we want to be sure you are, too. If you are concerned for seniors who need help with Social Security, I hope that means that you would never consider supporting any bills from the House of Representatives to cut Social Security or Medicare. I hope that means you would never support budgetary cuts or tax cuts for the wealthy that would decrease funding for veterans programs. I hope your concern for your constituents who are in need means that you would never support repealing the Affordable Care Act without first putting into place a better program to replace it. I know you have been active working with Bosnian refugees, and so I want to hear you explain why you would support a ban on Muslims and the president’s current immigration policy. As one of your constituents, I want you to know I find both of these views of our current administration un-American and unconstitutional.
I hope you will seriously consider speaking with us, your constituents, who may very well have very different opinions from yours. We are not paid professionals. We are simply concerned Americans with strong values of caring who want our opinions heard. That is how a democracy works; as a government of the people, by the people, for the people.
Priscilla L. Berggren-Thomas