Who is afraid of a bunch of middle-aged women in pink hats? Apparently, 4th District Congressman Chris Smith. He complained in a May 22 oped “Activists take dissent in wrong direction” that someone slammed a door and called him rude names, citing those things as examples of why he doesn’t hold town hall meetings.
However, he has not hosted a town hall gathering in more than 20 years, long before any recent door-slamming or name-calling. There is no excuse for crudeness, but there also is no excuse for a congressman who refuses to meet with constituents, even those who disagree with him.
While I admire Smith’s efforts to help victims of domestic violence and human trafficking, I would like a congressional representative who lives in New Jersey, who sends his or her children to New Jersey schools, and who supports mainstream New Jersey values, such as fair wages for all, gun safety, women’s reproductive rights and LGBT rights. I also would like a congressional representative who supports birth control. Smith is on record saying the IUD and other forms of birth control are abortion tools. He also has said LGBT rights are different from human rights.
I’m supporting Jim Keady for Congress in 2018. Keady, owner of a local small business, enjoys discussing ideas with all sorts of people. I’ve witnessed him chatting with supporters of Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. That’s what New Jersey’s 4th Congressional District needs — a representative who listens to all of us, whether we are wearing pink or red hats.
This letter also appeared in the Asbury Park Press.