GOP Rep. Asked Paper To Keep Town Hall Secret, Selected Residents Who Were Invited

Freshman Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) told a town hall gathering Monday that “the whole purpose” of the meeting “is to hear from you.” But apparently Herrera Beutler isn’t interested in hearing from everyone.

The congresswoman’s Communications Director Casey Bowman called the Centralia Chronicle Friday to ask them not to publish a notice of the town hall, out of fear that people would come and say “whatever’s on their minds,” the paper reports:

The Chronicle refused [Bowman’s] request and published an announcement in Saturday’s paper.

The reason for not publishing an advance notice of the meeting was the fear that people from outside the immediate area could come and “just yell” at the congresswoman “whatever’s on their minds,” Bowman said Friday.

“When word gets in the paper, you get a certain set of people,” Bowman said.

Bowman later said that while the office doesn’t “screen” invitees, it does select people to invite via telephone, rather than mass media, calling everyone in “a certain ZIP code.” At least one couple felt slighted after having called the congresswoman’s Washington office and being told there were no town halls scheduled.


The last time Herrera Beutler held an open town hall in May, she was confronted by attendees who asked “hostile questions” about the House GOP budget, which would have effectively eliminated Medicare.

A number of Republican lawmakers have used techniques to avoid facing constituents with tough questions, including banning cameras, charging fees, holding meetings in remote locations, or even threatening to kick out constituents.