6th district constituents urge Goodlatte to participate in town hall

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WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) - Constituents in Virginia 6th U.S. congressional district came out in two cities on Tuesday, February 21st to try and get their messages across to Rep. Bob Goodlatte.

During the morning, people crowded into a meeting room in the Waynesboro Public Library during an open hall meeting hosted by the congressman.

While Goodlatte was not present, his staff recorded messages from those in attendance to take back to the Republican on various issues ranging from the Affordable Care Act to President Trump's recent travel ban which remains in legal limbo.

Daniel Summers-Minette, who attended the event, penned a letter to Goodlatte stating his opposition to the restriction on seven Muslim-majority countries, citing the experience of a family friend who is a refugee from Sudan.

"The very idea that a TSA agent in half an hour can do a better job than a naturalization agent in two years is illogical," said Summers-Minette. "It is based on extremely poor thinking."

In comments sent to WHSV, Goodlatte expressed his support for the ban.

"We must remain compassionate toward refugees, but we also need to strengthen our immigration program and enhance national security, including stronger vetting of visa applicants and all refugees," Goodlattte said.

But there was another issue on people's minds on Tuesday more pertinent to the Virginia congressman himself.

Many urged Goodlatte to attend a town hall meeting in the Valley, following his recent decision to not accept invitations to events in Harrisonburg and Roanoke.

"When you turn your face away from reality, it means you're running scared," said Daniel Summers-Minette. "A congressman should have the courage to talk to his constituents."

However, Goodlatte defended himself to WHSV.

"I've always made it my priority to communicate with the people I represent," said Goodlatte. "I meet regularly with groups or individuals who have requested appointments, attend community events, and correspond with constituents who have contacted my office via phone, email, postal mail, and social media."

The congressman also cited telephone town hall calls, which a member of his staff said he plans on doing in the coming days and weeks.

Still, some constituents feel a face-to-face conversation would be more effective.

On Tuesday night, people gathered at the Golden Pony in Harrisonburg to record video messages to Goodlatte asking questions and giving statements on various issues.