Since Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) avoids his constituents like the plague, some of them tracked him down at a coffee shop in his district. But when they tried to talk to him, Nunes fled.
According to the Valley Voice, Nunes was having coffee at a local Panera Bread store with his chief of staff and two others when a Voice reporter asked him to speak on the record.
Nunes refused, telling the reporter, “We’re in a — I’m in a meeting.”
As the reporter tried to arrange an interview with the congressman, Nunes left the table and fled to the parking lot, where he was approached by two constituents:
“Hi! You are a real person,” said Betsy Gaudette-Cross, who attempted to engage Nunes in conversation as he made for the exit.
Nunes did not acknowledge Gaudette-Cross. Neither did Nunes speak with Cynthia Thorburn of South Valley Civics, a protest organization that has held weekly rallies focused on Nunes’ lack of accessibility. Thorburn came to confront Nunes when after learning he was at the south Visalia restaurant.
“I’m going to be 65 soon,” she told Nunes as he left. “I’m worried about my healthcare. I’m worried about my Social Security.”
Nunes made no response, and Thorburn followed him and Ratekin into the parking lot.
“Congressman, please, don’t walk away from me,” Thorburn called after Nunes as he moved hurriedly to his car. “I’m worried about my healthcare. Why are you walking away? I don’t want to embarrass you; I just want to talk to you.”
Nunes drove away without responding to either of his constituents.
Such a scene might embarrass another congressman, but Nunes has made a second career out of ignoring and insulting his constituents. He has not held an open town hall event since 2010, and charges steep prices for attendance at his fundraisers.
The people of Nunes’ district wouldn’t have to approach him at a coffee shop if he would make himself available to them at his official congressional office. But when a group of constituents showed up at Nunes’ congressional district office in August to support Medicare and Social Security, his staff called the cops on them.
Instead of listening to the concerns of constituents who don’t rate entry to his private events, Nunes mocks them.
But Nunes’ time dodging his constituents may be running out. After nearly 16 years in office, he has done so little for his district that he could only list two accomplishments when he was asked.
People deserve representatives who are responsive to their concerns, and take action to address them. Devin Nunes has utterly failed on both counts.