ITHACA, N.Y. — The Ithaca Voice offered to host a live-streamed town hall for Congressman Tom Reed, but the event was rejected by his office Wednesday.
In an email with Reed’s communications director Samantha Cotton, The Ithaca Voice offered Reed the following terms for a Town Hall meeting:
- The Voice would arrange a venue with appropriate sound, lighting, etc. for a live-streamed Town Hall. Here is an example of a District Attorney candidate debate we moderated in October: https://www.facebook.
com/Tompkins-County-District-A ttorney-Debate-2016-6829198652 07349/
- The Voice would meet with local organizers, etc. to get the “Big Questions” constituents have for Rep. Reed. Then, myself and an additional reporter will ask Rep. Reed those questions during the Q&A, along with follow-ups. We will allow attendees to submit questions the day of the Town Hall. Questions will not be available to Rep. Reed in advance of the Town Hall.
- We expect the entire event to last one hour to an hour and 15 minutes. For the last 15 or 20 minutes, we will open up the floor for audience questions.
- If preferable, Rep. Reed can have an aid or another person on-hand to assist with questions or “fact check” details that he may not immediately know. We can provide a table or space for this to happen, upon request.
- Rep. Reed and his personnel can also opt to email constituents back with answers to their question if Rep. Reed does not immediately know the answer.
- It should be noted that The Ithaca Voice is a non-profit. At the beginning and end of the Town Hall we will likely thank a local sponsor for their contribution toward The Voice.
Cotten first rejected the offer, saying in an email, “We are actually going to hold a town hall in Tompkins County this spring. You guys are more than welcome to come to that event. But, we don’t have room in the schedule for this type of event in the coming weeks.”
So The Ithaca Voice offered to host the Town Hall later this year and our offer was again rejected, this time because Cotten said Reed does not participate in sponsored Town Halls.
In the past, The Voice has relied on sponsors to help pay for the cost of Q&As. For instance, a refugee panel last year was hosted at a reduced price by the Tompkins County History Center. The Ithaca Coffee Company provided coffee and cookies for attendees. And Gnomon Copy provided free printed fliers for the event. All three companies were thanked for their participation at the event.
But The Ithaca Voice offered to foot the bill for the Tom Reed Town Hall without a sponsor in an effort to bring the Congressman to the city.
The Ithaca Voice did not receive another reply from Cotten about the event.
Meanwhile, six protesters have gathered at Reed’s office for a 24-hour sit-in, which began on Valentine’s Day. Throughout the days, supporters have showed up at the office, bringing protesters food and standing in solidarity with them. The protesters said they would not leave without speaking to Reed about their concerns.
Reed said in a Fox New interview Wednesday that he does not know why the protesters were in his office. Protesters have made numerous public statements about their intentions through media outlets and on social media.
Mayor Svante Myrick also said in a phone interview that he emailed Reed’s office about attending a Town Hall in Ithaca and, as of earlier this week, had not received word that Reed would come to Ithaca.
Meanwhile, Cotten said via email to The Voice, “[W]e have conducted over 200 town halls – we visit every county and will conduct ourselves as we always have.”