With drastic policy change on the line, constituents in California’s 45th Congressional District show no sign of backing down from their calls for Congresswoman Mimi Walters to hold a town hall meeting.
On the heels of city council meetings last week in both Irvine and Mission Viejo in which residents implored councilmembers to pressure Congresswoman Walters into holding a general town hall meeting, constituents are now planning on holding a rally at Walters’ Irvine office on Friday, March 24 at 3:00 p.m.
The rally, dubbed “Mimi Walters: We Want Transparency, Not Closed Doors,” will give constituents a chance to demand answers to their concerns over Walters’ support of bills and policies that will negatively impact them. This includes the American Health Care Act, which is currently making its way through the House of Representatives and could see a vote as early as this week.
Walters is a key member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which
concluded its markup of the bill on March 9 before an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office was complete. On March 14, the CBO released the results of its analysis, which showed that the AHCA would cause upwards of 24 million Americans to lose health insurance by 2026 and would drastically increase costs for senior citizens over the same period.
The results have many in California’s 45th district sounding the alarm.
“Your constituents experienced far greater hardships prior to the ACA,” wrote Lynda Fernandez Stones on Congresswoman Walters’ Facebook page. “Prior to the ACA, my daughter, a heart patient would have not been insurable period, after the age of 23. Mimi, I voted for you! I won't do it again!”
Voters in the CA45th have gone to great lengths to try to get Congresswoman Walters to respond to them in the form of a general town hall meeting. During District Work Week in February, requests reached a fever pitch as the congresswoman spent the week meeting with donors, lobbyists, and fellow politicians, including city council members from Mission Viejo and Lake Forest.
In response to Walters’ silence regarding a town hall, voters have taken to using local city council meetings to voice their concerns about many different issues, including healthcare. Constituents have used the public comments portion of city council meetings in Mission Viejo, Irvine, and Lake Forest to express concerns over everything from the Congresswoman’s vote to allow people with mental illnesses who receive social security checks to purchase guns (H.J. Res 40), to a vote to repeal the Stream Protection Rule preventing the coal industry from polluting streams (H.J. Res 38) and her more recent introduction of a bill allowing telecommunications companies to sell their customers’ personal internet history (S.J. Res 34).
On March 14, after Irvine residents requested that their city council help them in their efforts to secure a face-to-face meeting with the congresswoman, Councilwoman Christina Shea acknowledged that she had spoken with Walters’ office about it; the issue was that the Congresswoman does not want to be “yelled at.”
“We see these things on TV, people going to these meetings and just flailing and screaming and yelling ... I don’t want to create an environment like that,” Shea said. “When I talked to Mimi Walter’s office, that’s what they were concerned about, because Congressman [Darrell Issa] had a town hall and it was just horrible.”
The rationale didn’t sit well with Irvine resident Debra Minov Kam.
“Overnight [on March 14] there were four new bomb threats to [Jewish Community Centers],” Minov Kam wrote on Facebook. “Mimi Walters continues her deafening silence. And the Irvine City Council apparently doesn't want to discuss these issues because we might yell at them.”