On Monday, April 10, Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-2) will begin his tour of a five-county cluster in northeast Oklahoma beginning in Jay for Delaware County before moving on to sessions in Miami, Vinita, Nowata, and Stilwell.
WASHINGTON - In late March, Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-2) announced town hall meetings for his constituents in each of the twenty-six counties he represents on March 31, April 7, and April 10 - 13.
“As your voice in Congress, it’s important that you have the opportunity to express your thoughts and concerns about issues impacting you and your family,” said Mullin in a press release about the planned town halls. “Each year, I look forward to holding town halls and meeting with people in Oklahoma so that I can take their concerns back to Washington and work on behalf of my constituents. I hope you’ll join me for a town hall near you this spring.”
On Monday, April 10, Mullin will be in Miami to conduct the scheduled town hall meeting for Ottawa County at the Paul Thomas Family Center from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
The Congressman will begin his tour of a five-county cluster in northeast Oklahoma Monday in Jay for Delaware County before moving on to sessions in Miami, Vinita, Nowata, and Stilwell.
Each town hall meeting is set to last for one hour and is anticipated to draw a solid number of participants based on his visits so far to several 2nd District counties March 31 and April 7.
However, one of Mullin's town hall sessions ahead of those scheduled for Monday has raised questions on how open and inclusive the meetings are for constituents who are not aligned with the Congressman's vision for, and representation of, District 2 Oklahoma.
Topping recent press coverage of Mullin's town hall meetings is the conflict that unfolded when a citizen at the Mayes County session held in Pryor on Friday, March 31, objected to speaking points concerning the Environmental Protection Agency by holding up and waving a red paper card.
At the start of the session, Mullin addressed those gathered at Pryor City Hall with an appeal to keep commonalities in mind.
“I start off by reminding you all we have to respect each other. In order to do that we have to start off by establishing something we all have in common. We have a right to express our opinions because we live in the greatest country in the world," said Mullin.
Next, the Congressman laid out expectations for the session by asking that attendees keep their time at the mic brief and focused, and not to raise and display any signs to both streamline the process and be respectful of other participants.
Later in the session when confronted with the red paper held up by a woman in the front row, Mullin issued a reminder saying that signs were not allowed and for the paper to be lowered.
In reply, the woman holding the paper stated that it was not a sign but "a simple piece of paper." Adding as she was approached by law enforcement, “If you want me to go outside you can physically remove me in handcuffs."
Mullin halted her removal, explaining that to do so "would be playing right into their hands," and adding later "All they're wanting to do is get you in trouble and blast it all over the internet, and I don't want to do that."
Returning his focus to the objector with the red paper, he then said he found her actions appalling.
“I find it appalling. You can sit there and do what you want, but you're defeating what you're trying to get done," said Mullin.
As predicted, a video clip of the confrontation quickly went viral following the Pryor meeting.
In response to that video, the Congressman's office later released a longer video clip, which included his opening and the subsequent conflict on his office's Facebook with the following comment:
"In light of a video that was released after last week’s town hall meeting in Pryor, I want to take the opportunity to set the record straight. For those interested in hearing what took place during that town hall meeting last Friday, I encourage you to watch what actually took place," read the Facebook post.
"I’m disappointed by those who attended the town hall meetings with only one intention: to cause disruption. At the same time, I’m encouraged by the Oklahomans who attended one of my town hall meetings last week in hopes of learning more about the federal issues that impact their lives. I’ll continue to hold 22 more town hall meetings as scheduled in my district because I appreciate and value the input of my constituents. I look forward to hearing from more of them in the coming weeks."
How town hall sessions will unfold Monday in the wake of the controversy is difficult to predict.
Below is a listing of times and locations provided by Mullin's office of appearances scheduled for April 10 in northeast Oklahoma:
Delaware County Town Hall
WHEN: 8 – 9 a.m. CT
WHERE: Delaware County Historical Society Museum – 538 W. Krause St., Jay, OK 74346
Ottawa County Town Hall
WHEN: 10 – 11 a.m. CT
WHERE: Paul Thomas Family Center - 1527 N. Main St., Miami, OK 74354
Craig County Town Hall
WHEN: 12 – 1 p.m. CT
WHERE: Craig County Fairgrounds – 915 E Apperson Road, Vinita, OK 74301
Nowata County Town Hall
WHEN: 2 – 3 p.m. CT*
WHERE: Nowata County Fairgrounds – 612 Roxy Avenue, Nowata, OK 74048
*Note: This is a time change from previously announced schedule.
Adair County Town Hall
WHEN: 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. CT
WHERE: Stilwell Community Center – 320 N. 6th St., Stilwell, OK 74960