On Friday, January 4th, as part of our “Whose House? Our House!” nationwide day of action, a group of 20 activists from Indivisible AVL and Indivisible Black Mountain showed up at Patrick McHenry’s district office to deliver a stack of New Year’s Resolutions for the congressman, asking him to support H.R.1, the pro-democracy legislation in the new House. We called on him especially to support the Voter Empowerment and Access parts of the bill, which call for:
- Creating fair maps through independent redistricting commissions, without gerrymandering for either party.
- Restoring the Voting Rights Act.
- Encouraging automatic and same-day voter registration, and providing adequate early voting opportunities.
- Securing our election systems, such as, but not limited to, the use of voting machines.
Two Indivisible AVL members had made an appointment in advance with the congressman’s staff, so we were surprised to find a less than welcome reception—starting with police greeting us when we arrived. After some difficulty, one of us, Indivisible AVL Congress Watch leader Cindy McGrayne, was finally allowed into the office.
When asked if McHenry would support H.R.1, the staffer replied that this was new and he had no answer at this time but that the office would respond to our letters. When asked what McHenry’s position was on restoring the Voting Rights Act, he gave the same response.
When asked what McHenry would like to accomplish this year, the staffer said he would be “limited by the new Democratic majority” but would be focusing on his work in the House Financial Services Committee.
By the end of the meeting it had started to rain, and the rest of the group had moved indoors and stood waiting in the hallway. The staffer declined an invitation to speak to the group, saying that to do so would violate security protocols.
Wow. But we did deliver our message! And a thick stack of resolutions, to boot.
And we gotta say, those Black Mountain Indivisibles really turned out.