Hundreds of Long Island Residents Demand Answers From No-Show Rep. Peter King
Powerful Advocacy Groups NOW-NY, Nassau NOW, New York’s 2nd District Democrats and Action Together Long Island Hosted Weekend Town Hall
Rep. Peter King’s Absence Prompts Outrage from Constituents
AMITYVILLE, NY (May 7, 2017) – Just days after Rep. Peter King (NY-2) voted “yes” to pass Donald Trump’s replacement to the Affordable Care Act, 300 frustrated residents of King’s Long Island district held a Town Hall to discuss healthcare, immigration, paid family leave, violence against women, the environment, and other issues concerning residents. Despite inviting King to the town hall, he did not attend – and has not appeared at a public Town Hall meeting for constituents for over twelve years.
“The women of Representative King’s district deserve answers. What we want is simple – we want affordable healthcare for ourselves and our families, health insurance that covers all of our healthcare needs, and freedom from discrimination and violence. Representative King has supported Trump’s immigration bans that are further marginalizing immigrant women who face violence and abuse, and he has voted for a healthcare plan that will take away vital coverage for women. If our representatives won’t support these basic needs, then we won’t support them,” said Sonia Ossorio, president of NOW-New York.
In a packed forum, hands across the room were raised when one speaker asked, “How many of you in this room have been affected by domestic violence?” In another key moment, the entire crowd roared with disapproval raising red ‘thumbs down signs’ when asked about King’s vote to support Trumpcare.
The Town Hall was organized by New York’s 2nd District Democrats, National Organization for Women chapters NOW-New York and Nassau NOW, and Action Together Long Island (ALTI). The event was co-sponsored by The Long Island Progressive Coalition, Sisters of St. Joseph, The Long Island Civic Engagement Table, Long Island Activists, Together We Will-LI. Featured speakers included New York State Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre, Sonia Ossorio, president of NOW-New York, Beth Fiteni of Green Inside and Out, Katie Twomey, a social worker from the 2nd district and Liuba Grechen Shirley of NY’s 2nd District Democrats.
After countless requests from Long Islanders for a public Town Hall, King held his first public event of any type for over a decade in the form of a tele-Town Hall in March, a forum which permitted King to screen participants and disproportionally select men over women by a ratio or 4 to 1.
“Rep. King is a coward, afraid to face his constituents,” said Liuba Grechen Shirley, founder of NY’s 2nd District Democrats. “King has disparaged public participation claiming that a Town Hall, where citizens can speak without censorship, will diminish democracy. We have news for Peter King. THIS is what democracy looks like.”
Grechen Shirely added, “Peter King’s old-school misogyny and dismissal of women’s issues is manifested in both his behavior and his voting record. He has voted against equal pay for women, against paid family leave, and for this abominable healthcare bill which strips healthcare protections from women, the elderly, the sick, our most vulnerable citizens. We aim to hold him accountable.”
“This Women’s Town Hall was organized as a response to the growing frustration of the community to Rep. King’s refusal to participate in a public forum. It is not justifiable that in our democracy a representative can refuse to participate in this critical aspect of public service; to answer the questions and concerns of the community for which he works,” said Julia Fenster, chief organizer of ATLI and Nassau NOW co-president. “We are bringing together the women of the 2nd district community who have been methodically shut out from being heard by Peter King on issues impacting their health, their families, and their communities.”
“What Peter King fails to understand is that in a democracy he represents, and has a responsibility to ALL his constituents, women and men. Moreover, he needs to recognize that women’s issues affect everyone,” said Gretchen Shirley.
Event co-sponsors, the Sisters of St. Joseph agreed stating, “The Sisters of St. Joseph have reaffirmed our commitment to women’s issues. Believing that we are all equal as created by God, we are committed to respect the dignity of all. Since women and girls do not enjoy this equality, we will strive to secure their empowerment by education, by advocacy and by providing opportunities for them to develop their gifts and make their voices heard. We continue to advocate for women’s issues including healthcare, education, equal pay, paid family leave, and the rights of immigrant women.”
The National Organization for Women New York (NOW-New York) advocates for women and girls across our state by working to defend reproductive rights, fight economic inequality, and end discrimination and violence against women.
New York’s 2nd District Democrats (NY02Dems) is a constituent-based group dedicated to reenergizing the Democratic base, mobilizing district two residents, and ensuring that President Trump’s election is the spark that ignites the strongest, most unified social justice movement our country has ever seen.
Action Together Long Island (ATLI) is a grassroots organization that empowers, educates and engages democrats in community social action and civic engagement for the purpose of securing progressive values and leadership in Long Island.