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West Michigan constituents invited to town halls with their congressmen

Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
At least 600 people came to Amash's town hall meeting in Grand Rapids earlier this month.

Some Michigan members of Congress have been criticized lately for avoiding constituents. But two Republican congressmen from West Michigan are hosting in-person events over the next few days.

U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-2nd Dist., has his first in-person town hall of the year set for this Saturday at noon in Baldwin. The tiny town about an hour north of Grand Rapids was supposed to be a part of Huizenga’s annual snowmobile tour. There’s not enough snow this year, but he didn’t cancel the event.

It’s not clear yet how many people will be able to fit into the high school gymnasium, and Huizenga’s staffers say they’re asking that only constituents who actually live in his district attend.

“I think it’s fair to let the constituents have access,” Huizenga spokesperson Brian Patrick said. “We’re hoping they’re the ones who get to ask the questions.”

Huizenga will host another in-person town hall in early March, shortly after President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, Patrick said.

Progressive constituents say these GOP Congressmen are avoiding them

Meanwhile, town hall regular U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, R-3rd Dist., will be in Battle Creek Thursday afternoon. Hundreds of people showed up to his first two town halls in Grand Rapids earlier this year; so many people that crowds had to be turned away both times.

Amash says some of his colleagues are avoiding these in-person town halls because they’d rather “go with the flow,” regardless of party affiliation.

“They want to stick to their comfort zone in many cases and this doesn’t make me uncomfortable,” Amash said of the sometimes-contentious crowd.

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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