Heller's absence brings anger, frustration to local town hall - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Heller's absence brings anger, frustration to local town hall

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Sen. Dean Heller, R-NV. (AP Photo) Sen. Dean Heller, R-NV. (AP Photo)

A noticeable absence filled the room of a local town hall Thursday.

At least 200 people packed into a room at the Clark County Library on East Flamingo Road Thursday afternoon. They looked to share concerns with Sen. Dean Heller (R), but he failed to show up. 

Sen. Heller's office gave FOX5 the following statement about the town hall and the organizations that planned it: 

"The organizers of this town hall had no intention of Senator Heller attending and are intentionally misleading Nevadans. The invitation to the town hall came late in the afternoon on the previous day. This is a ridiculous attempt by the organizers to try and discredit the Senator. The lack of transparency about these details from the organizers of the town hall is disingenuous but not surprising," said Neal Patel, spokesman for US Senator Dean Heller.

Organizers of the event, progressive groups like Planned Parenthood and the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, denied they intended to mislead anyone. 

Victoria Ruiz, one of the organizers, said she personally delivered an invitation to the Heller's office Tuesday afternoon. 

"We reached out multiple times, in several ways, to let him know that we were organizing a community town hall where he was expected," Ruiz said. 

Several locals said they had been hoping Sen. Heller would plan a town hall for weeks, and while they knew he didn't plan Thursday's event, they were hoping he'd make an appearance. 

"I was hoping he'd show up, I was calling his office, and they have been saying maybe he'd have a town hall, but he hasn't really committed," attendee Cary Floyd said. 

Floyd said she has concerns she'd like to share with the Heller, and she is not the only one. 

"We don't want to set him up to fail. We want to tell him what our concerns are. He works for us, and we want him to take those concerns to Washington,"  local, Mary Russell, said. 

Heller has said in the past he would hold town halls if people agree to not cheer or boo, and he's also spoken about his preference for telephone town halls. 

Matthew Martin said Nevadans should get the chance to see their representatives face to face.

"It's a part of the job to be able to field questions and take criticism, and if he's not willing to do that, then I question him as a representative going forward," Martin said. 

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