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9th District Constituents Hold ‘Die In’ Protest, Town Hall

  • 9th District constituents planned the town hall and invited Rep. Trey Hollingsworth to attend, an invitation he did not respond to.

    Image 1 of 3

    Photo: Becca Costello

    9th District constituents planned the town hall and invited Rep. Trey Hollingsworth to attend, an invitation he did not respond to.

  • Hollingsworth's constituents packed the Bloomington City Hall chambers to voice questions and comments to the Representative.

    Image 2 of 3

    Photo: Becca Costello

    Hollingsworth's constituents packed the Bloomington City Hall chambers to voice questions and comments to the Representative.

  • Town Hall organizers asked participants to write their questions and comments on a form letter, which they plan to hand-deliver to one of the Republican's district offices.

    Image 3 of 3

    Photo: Becca Costello

    Town Hall organizers asked participants to write their questions and comments on a form letter, which they plan to hand-deliver to one of the Republican's district offices.

More than 100 people gathered at Bloomington’s City Hall Thursday night for a Town Hall with 9th District Representative Trey Hollingsworth, but the Republican didn’t attend the event.

Instead, constituents addressed a mannequin dressed in a suit with a photo of Hollingsworth attached.

Most participants denounced Hollingsworth’s vote in favor of the American Health Care Act, which would repeal former President Barack Obama’s healthcare initiative.

Sherry Smith says a new medication to treat the non-Hodgkins lymphoma cancer she has could significantly lengthen her lifespan. But she says it costs at least $14,000 dollars a month.

“Obviously if I can’t have access to insurance, or if I’m in a high-risk pool, there’s not a prayer in the world,” Smith says.

Just before the town hall, protesters held what they call a “Die In.” They laid on the ground holding cardboard tombstones with messages like “ACA repeal killed me,” “Couldn’t afford my meds” and “Drowned in the high risk pool.”

  • Protesters lay on the ground as if they were dead, holding cardboard tombstones.

    Image 1 of 4

    Photo: Becca Costello

    Protesters lay on the ground as if they were dead, holding cardboard tombstones.

  • Constituents shared their experiences with the cost of health care and decried GOP efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

    Image 2 of 4

    Photo: Becca Costello

    Constituents shared their experiences with the cost of health care and decried GOP efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

  • The tombstones pointed to aspects of the AHCA like allowing states to give insurance companies the right to charge more for preexisting conditions.

    Image 3 of 4

    Photo: Becca Costello

    The tombstones pointed to aspects of the AHCA like allowing states to give insurance companies the right to charge more for preexisting conditions.

  • Protesters lay on the ground as if they were dead, holding cardboard tombstones.

    Image 4 of 4

    Photo: Becca Costello

    Protesters lay on the ground as if they were dead, holding cardboard tombstones.

Bloomington resident Don Geyra says he wants to see health care coverage expanded, not repealed.

“I believe that single payer is a logical decision,” Geyra says. “And I’m constantly conflicted, along with so many other people, with statements that come out of the white house that fly completely in the face of reality.”

Not all constituents addressed the AHCA; others called on Hollingsworth to renounce his support for increased concealed carry rights and to address concerns about the Trump administration’s proposed budget.

Two potential contenders for Hollingsworth’s seat spoke at the event, calling on constituents to vote the Republican out of office in 2018.

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Tom Pappas (left) and Dan Canon say they will likely run against Rep. Hollingsworth in 2018.

“I want you to know we’re coming for you,” says Tom Pappas, addressing the Hollingsworth mannequin. “We’re coming hard, coming fast, we’re going to fix this.”

Civil rights lawyer Dan Canon says he’s committed to fighting back.

“We can’t just fight back, we’ve got to fight forward,” he says. “We’ve got to end up better than where we started.”

Organizers asked participants to write down their questions and comments, which will be hand-delivered to one of Hollingsworth’s district offices.

Hollingsworth’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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