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Wadsworth protesters seek town hall with Rep. Renacci

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    Kevin Brown of Medina holds a megaphone, rallying 115 protesters in Wadsworth on Tuesday. Members of Medina Patriotic Resistance, Medina County Together and Sustainable Medina County met with the goal of talking to U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, about various topics.

    ALEC SMITH / GAZETTE

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    Protesters lined up along High Street in Wadsworth during the lunch rush hour.

    ALEC SMITH / GAZETTE

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    Lida Vislisel of Wooster holds a sign as she protests Tuesday in front of 1 Park Centre where U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, has his local office. Protestors held the meeting in hopes of obtaining a town hall meeting with Renacci to discuss various topics.

    ALEC SMITH / GAZETTE

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About 115 protesters held signs during a lunchtime rally outside U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci’s 16th Congressional District office at 1 Park Centre in Wadsworth.

Members of three county groups — Medina Patriotic Resistance, Medina County Together and Sustainable Medina County — said their goal was to schedule a town hall-style meeting with Renacci, R-Wadsworth.

Seville resident Katie Mullins, a member of Medina County Together, said the protesters represented people who wanted to speak with their representative on a variety of topics, from health care to the immigration ban.

“We’d like to see him eyeball-to-eyeball and talk about what’s going on.”

Renacci issued a statement Tuesday that he has an “increasingly busy House calendar.”

Renacci was elected to Congress in 2010. He is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Budget Committee.

Up to five people at a time went into the building, where a police officer was stationed, to talk with an office manager, Wadsworth Police Chief Randy Reinke said.

Reinke said that the triple-digit turnout was the most he’s seen at local protests, and he had “just a few” officers assisting.

“We’re trying to not get involved if we can help it. We’re letting the protesters exercise their constitutional rights,” Reinke said.

Wadsworth wasn’t the only place protesters rallied Tuesday. Members of the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus also protested outside Renacci’s Cuyahoga office, organizers said.

John Leonard, one of the founders of the Patriotic Resistance, said Tuesday’s protest was part of “resist Trump Tuesday” that has been taking place “for weeks.”

“People want to be heard. There’s all sorts of reasons” for requesting a town hall-style event, the Medina resident said.

Leonard and Mullins said notices about the protests circulated on social media for about 1ᄑ weeks.

“Everyone (who came) wants a town hall, and they all have their reasons, whether it’s the release of Trump’s taxes or the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the Muslim ban, you name it. We can go on from now until tomorrow,” Leonard said.

Mullins said the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was important to her.

“That’s how I get my health insurance,” she said, adding she is concerned because she has pre-existing health conditions.

RENACCI STATEMENT

U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, issued a statement Tuesday as about 115 protesters gathered outside his 16th Congressional District office at 1 Park Centre in Wadsworth:

“As a member of Congress, it is a distinct pleasure of mine to meet with my constituents and hear their views on issues before Congress. My office has a long history of participating in town halls, having hosted over 100 during my six years in Congress. However, due to an increasingly busy House calendar, I am required to be in D.C. more time than in any previous year I have served. Despite the very busy House calendar, I am planning to host a series of tele-town halls so that I can connect with constituents on the issues that are important to them. My staff and I are currently scheduling dates to host these tele-town halls, and my staff is more than happy to record constituents’ information and notify them once we have those dates finalized.”

Contact reporter Ashley Fox at (330) 721-4048 or afox@medina-gazette.com.

 



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