Tom Egan of For Ohio’s Future, center, the organization that planned Monday’s protest in front of U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci’s Wadsworth office, calls for the Republican congressman to hold a public town hall meeting.
NATHAN HAVENNER / GAZETTE Enlarge
WADSWORTH — Armed with a microphone and signs reading “Repeal Renacci” and “Renacci why are you hiding from us,” about 25 protesters gathered in front of U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci’s Wadsworth office Monday afternoon, demanding the former Wadsworth mayor hold a public town hall meeting.
“If they don’t hold town hall meetings, how can they really know what the general public really wants them to do,” David Williams, of Akron, said. “If they are only listening to people that already agree with them, then they are not really representing the public.”
The gathering was organized by Danielle Parillo of For Ohio’s Future, who said the idea behind the protest was to “kind of put that pressure on (Renacci) to hold those town hall meetings and to hear from his constituents.”
Parillo said the organization uses community engagement and issue advocacy to build “long-term, progressive power.”
Renacci, who was elected to the 16th Congressional District seat in 2010, is running on the May 8 Republican primary ballot to challenge for the U.S. Senate seat held by Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland.
Parillo said it has been a long time since Renacci has hosted a town hall meeting and heard from his constituents.
“People have been asking him for town hall meetings and he just won’t hold them,” she said. “He has said that he doesn’t believe in town hall meetings.”
Kelsey Knight, communications director for Renacci, said in an email Monday about town hall meetings: “The congressman has said (publicly) that he believes those settings are not productive.”
Knight said Renacci keeps an open schedule between 7-8 a.m. when he is Wadsworth, giving constituents an opportunity to voice their concerns “face to face.”
Renacci was not in his Wadsworth office during Monday’s protest, Knight said.
John Leonard of Medina said last year he organized a demonstration of more than 100 people in front of Renacci’s Wadsworth office at 1 Park Center Drive and requested a public meeting.
Keith Rasey, also of Medina, said in the 1950s and 1960s, businesses worked to take care of their customers and employees, and are now focused on cost-cutting.
“Renacci is from that class,” Rasey said. “He is from the class which uses sharp elbows and legal but not quite right techniques to enrich himself at the expense of the public. He needs to go.”
Contact reporter Nathan Havenner at (330) 721-4050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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