Disruption grows at town halls

WASHINGTON, July 31 (UPI) -- Several members of Congress report increasing levels of disruption at town halls and one member from a New York district says he has stopped holding town halls.

Rep. Tim Bishop, D-N.Y., told Politico protests have gotten so boisterous he has dropped the practice of holding town hall meetings.


"There is no point in meeting with my constituents and (to) listen to them and have them listen to you if what is basically an unruly mob prevents you from having an intelligent conversation," he said.

Bishop said the last straw came June 22 when he needed a police escort to his car.

At least one protester was arrested this month at a healthcare town hall in Syracuse, N.Y., and anti-tax protesters in Danville, Va., claim they were "refused an opportunity" to question Rep. Thomas Perriello, D-Va., at a town hall and were told by a plainclothes police officer to leave the meeting.

"The days of you having a town hall meeting where maybe 15 or 20 of your friends show up -- they're over," said National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas. "You've now got real people who are showing up -- and that's going to be a factor."


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