NEW ORLEANS - As townhall meetings with GOP lawmakers continue across the nation, some locals say it's who they're not hearing or seeing that's making them upset.
Sunday afternoon, a 'Speak Out' was held by Step Up Louisiana to call attention, they say, to the fact that Senator John Kennedy hasn't met with constituents across the state.
With signs held high and voices raised, several local groups united as one, saying they're upset with Sen. Kennedy's lack of face-time with the community.
"This is a protest and a request for Senator Kennedy to have some sort of office hours or some sort of accountability to Louisiana," said participant Andrew Morgan. "I think it's critical for our Democracy that the folks we elect to Congress be accountable to the folks who elect them."
The event, which was held at the Hale Boggs Federal Building, comes after U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy held a raucous town hall meeting in Metairie and U.S. Representative Steve Scalise held one over the phone.
"You're a public servant," said Step Up Louisiana Co-Director Maria Harmon. "Your job is to build relationships with the community, you work for the community."
Harmon said it's now time for Kennedy to step up and do his part.
"I'm in this for everyone and even if I didn't vote for you, you're still my state Senator," she said. "Why aren't you doing your job?"
Many participants also shared concerns they had on some of President Donald Trump's policies including his push to repeal the Affordable Care Act, women's rights, and immigration reforms. Representatives of the Hispanic and Latino community, including Juanita Ramos, said many in New Orleans are scared.
"Yes, there's a lot of fear, a lot of nervousness," she said. "The kids, especially the little ones, they're not only nervous but they feel very afraid that if they go to school, when they come back their parents may not be home. Or the mothers when they go to work they don't know if they'll go back home."
Ramos hopes New Orleans will continue to be what she describes as a welcoming city.
"We have people from all around the world," she said. "I would like to continue to see that, New Orleans as a welcoming city for everybody. It doesn't matter color, race, language, legal status I just want people to welcome everybody like they did for me."
For Morgan, his concern is with spending.
"My number one, which I think goes across the board here in Louisiana whether you call yourself Democrat or Republican is where we're going to to spend our money," he said. "One example would be spending a lot of money on a wall when here in Louisiana we're losing two football fields an hour of soil, where we have crime out the roof, where we suffer from all these different problems, that money could come to us here in the state."
They are all concerns that participants at the event want Kennedy to hear in person, and said they have a message for him.
"Senator Kennedy, please come out and engage with your community," said Harmon. "Engage with the citizens of Louisiana, and make us feel assured that you're going to do the right thing since you've been elected."
Eyewitness News reached out to Kennedy's office who said no public forums or meetings are scheduled at this time because right now they're focused on opening offices across the state. They will be opening an office in Baton Rouge and at least one in every region. They also say there's no scheduled date on when the offices are expected to open, but they encourage people to call Kennedy's office in Washington D.C. at (202) 224-4623. They also can reach out by e-mail by going to Kennedy's website here.
For more information on Step Up Louisiana go here.
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