Students Challenge Garrett to Go Big

Mar 15, 2017

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. administers the House oath of office to Rep. Tom Garrett, R-Va., during a mock swearing in ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017, as the 115th Congress began.
Credit Associated Press

There’s a new chapter, today, in the on-going saga of Republican Congressman Tom Garrett, who cancelled his March 13th  meeting with constituents in Charlottesville.  Later, Garrett said he would talk to folks at his office, but when they showed up, he was in Nelson County.  Now, he’s committed to a town-hall style meeting on March 31st, but as Sandy Hausman reports, there are problems on the horizon.

Brett Curtis is president of the University Democrats at UVA, and he was excited to hear that his newly-elected Congressman would be on campus.  He was dismayed, however, to learn that few people will be able to attend.

“We received word that Representative Garrett is planning a meeting in which 135 constituents in a ridiculously large district are going to be able to hear directly from him," he says. "The university Democrats were able to reserve a room for 495 individuals. We who would love to see him at least take advantage of that offer and open it up to more people.”

But the group has been unable to reach Garrett, and his supporters see no need for a big gathering.

“The response right now that we’re hearing is the previous representative – Mr. Hurt -- held no town halls, and so this is a vast upgrade, and that’s just not a fair comparison.  I mean the citizens of this district want to hear from our representative and we are not having the opportunity to do so,” Curtis says.

Garrett’s website says 135 tickets will be evenly divided, with some going to Democrats, Republicans and UVA students – preferably those who live in the district.  Organizers say they’ll host the event on March 31st at 6:30 in Garrett Hall where signs, booing, chanting and applause will be banned.