KINDERHOOK–Demonstrators gathered Monday, February 19, in front of the Kinderhook district office of Rep. John Faso (R-19th) for a “Not My President’s Day” rally. The event was organized by Indivisible Chatham NY (ICNY) in protest of the policies and agendas supported by President Trump’s and Rep. Faso.
Alan Gelb, president of ICNY, said Mr. Faso’s has “problematic” stands on a number of issues. “This is especially true with his support of the NRA, and we’re hoping to bring awareness to the public,” he said.
ICNY’s statement of purpose calls in part for putting pressure on members of Congress to “uphold the democratic ideals upon which our nation was founded.”
The event included members of ICNY coming forward to read speeches from past presidents, from Lincoln to Obama. Interspersed with that, volunteers from the crowd were asked to come to the microphone to read tweets from President Trump. A plastic jack-o-lantern attached to a stick and sporting a blonde wig was given to these volunteers to hold, to represent Mr. Trump speaking.
Robin McKay, 65, a member of ICNY, was behind most of the crowd’s signs featuring Rep. Faso’s face with President Trump’s hair.
Referring to Mr. Faso, she said, “He’s backed by big money, and we need representatives that are backed by the people.”
In the crowd, one of the common complaints heard was the congressman’s “cozy relationship” with the NRA. Additionally, his opponents accused Mr. Faso of never having held an in-person town hall meeting open to the public, and for “gutting” the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Joe Gierut, a spokesman for Rep. Faso, said the congressman has had “numerous meetings with individuals and groups throughout the district… while at the same time attending to his duties in Washington”.
Mr. Gierut also said that the Rep. Faso believes Congress and state legislatures need to “examine whether laws should be changed to address violence in our society.”
One member of the crowd, who declined to give her name, identified herself as a registered Republican, and said she came to the protest because she felt as though she was in mourning for the state of her country.
To close the event, Tistrya Houghtling, New Lebanon town clerk, led protestors in a rendition of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” Ms. Houghtling brought her three children to the protest and expressed her belief for the need to bring back a more open and transparent government.
“We need to bring back the trust,” she said.