On Saturday, June 17, 2017, people from all over NY’s 23rd district gathered in Watkins Glen to meet one another and to hear from some of the folks who are running (or considering running) against Congressman Reed in the next election. Many folks, myself included, made the trek from Seneca County to attend.
The event was shared publicly on Facebook and Twitter, so we were not surprised when two of Tom Reed’s staffers, Alison Hunt and Nicholas Weinstein, showed up. It’s not uncommon to see them attend (and photograph and video record) events that are focused on opposing Reed. They were introduced to the crowd of about 75 people there, and offered to talk to anyone who had concerns. Then, we started to hear from the candidates who had come to speak. Below is the text of a fax that I sent to Reed’s D.C. office after the event:
“Today, citizens of the NY 23rd district met to discuss our concerns at an event in Watkins Glen. Two of your staffers, Alison Hunt and Nicholas Weinstein, showed up to keep eyes on us and record/photograph everything that happened (Hi, Big Brother!). As we were listening to candidates and potential candidates speak and share their values and concerns, the disrespect shown by Alison and Nicholas was obvious and upsetting. They rolled their eyes, scoffed, and made faces at each other as someone spoke about his concerns for the rights of LGBTQ folks, and as others spoke about education, healthcare, tax reform, and unemployment. This demonstration of disrespect and obvious lack of concern from Alison and Nicholas was not only insulting to the people speaking, but was disturbing to those of us watching. It seems clear, through their behavior, that your office does not take seriously the concerns and values of the citizens and constituents of the NY 23rd district. This is why your time in Congress will end in 2018.”
I also sent a copy of the letter to Alison Hunt, via email, who denied being “aware” of this behavior. I posted a screenshot of the letter to Facebook and Twitter, too. I haven’t heard anything more from Reed or his staffers – but Nicholas told a different group of resisters that my letter bothered him. Perhaps what should have bothered him was his own behavior – not being called out on it.