Group planning town hall wants Sen. Portman to talk health care

Valley Voices in Action's town hall meeting will be held at Howland High School on March 25

FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 13, 2014 file photo, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, speaks during an interview in Lebanon, Ohio. National environmental group the National Resources Defense Council has launched a $500,000 ad campaign against Portman in Ohio, claiming a federal budget amendment he introduced could undercut the enforceability of the federal Clean Air Act. (AP Photo/Al Behrman, File)
(AP Photo/Al Behrman, File)


HOWLAND TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – All across the country, there is a push for public town halls with political representatives and a local group is holding one later this month. They’re hoping Republican Senator Rob Portman shows.

Valley Voices in Action has also reached out to Senator Sherrod Brown and Congressman Tim Ryan, but Portman is the one they really want to talk to because of his views on the Affordable Care Act.

“We really want to talk to him and have him hear our stories because that’s what’s going to change people’s minds, is hearing how people are going to be personally affected by the changes in legislation,” said Alexis Smith, a member of the group.

Member Alexis Smith called Valley Voices in Action a politically independent grassroots coalition. She said they’re trying to change the community for the better.

“We’re not trying to have a screaming match. We don’t think that’s how things get accomplished,” Smith said.

She realizes they might not agree on everything.

“We want them to show us that we are important and that they’re listening to us,” she said.

Portman’s team said they can’t commit to attending the town hall just yet. His press secretary said he is very active and has taken the time to listen to demonstrators throughout the state.

Congressman Ryan’s team said he is holding a public town hall before the end of the month but the details are still being worked out.

Senator Brown’s press secretary said he’s had over 300 round tables and held events in all 88 of Ohio’s counties.

In Cleveland, organizers held a town hall for Portman two weeks ago, bringing a cardboard cut-out of him since he didn’t attend.

In Pennsylvania, police arrested protesters after staging a sit-in at Senator Pat Toomey’s Philadelphia office. People demonstrated outside of Congressman Mike Kelly’s Sharon office, requesting a public town hall.

Valley Voices in Action is holding an event this weekend called Postcards for Portman to make notes and videos for the senator, requesting he come to their town hall.

The town hall meeting will be held at Howland High School on March 25.

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