DENVER – U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman held a town hall in Aurora Wednesday evening, but it’s the strict list of requirements for admission to the event, not the issues at hand, that seem to be drawing the most attention.
The town hall is set to take place from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Education Building 2 South on the CU Anschutz Campus, located at East 17th Place in Aurora.
“I look forward to a robust and informative discussion about all of the critical issues facing our community, state, and nation,” a news release from Coffman announcing the event says, adding that the Republican Congressman will also discuss current and upcoming legislation.
But some foes of Coffman’s say the restrictions to the event will foster anything but a robust discussion, and several progressive and Democratic groups plan to protest the event as such.
Coffman’s announcement for the town hall does carry with it an extensive list of requirements for people wanting to attend.
First, they had to sign up for tickets, which have already sold out. But not even all the people who were able to get tickets will be able to sit in the town hall itself; some will have to stand in an overflow room. People who were able to get tickets had to reserve their seats.
And if you’re not from Colorado’s 6th Congressional District, it’s unlikely you got one of the seats at the town hall even if you have a ticket.
“Due to the overwhelming response to our town hall meeting from across our district and the limited capacity of the venue, we will prioritize access to the auditorium to residents of the 6th District of Colorado,” the press release from Coffman says.
Even then, Coffman’s staff and “university representatives” still reserve the right not to let you in.
And if you are lucky enough to get into the town hall itself, there’s only a chance you’ll get to ask a question. Attendees will receive raffle tickets that will be drawn to determine who asks questions.
But should you manage to get a seat and a raffle ticket, be sure you adhere to the rest of the rules Coffman’s team has put in place for the event:
Attendees must have a matching photo ID with a valid address that matches their ticket.
No signs larger than 8.5 x 11 inches are allowed.
No standing in aisles or blocking doors
No yelling, shouting or disruptive behavior “So that everyone can participate in a constructive conversation.”
No backpacks, food, drink or weapons – except for purses “of reasonable size.”
A group involving Indivisible Colorado District 6, Arapahoe County Democratic Party, Colorado Democratic Party, Mi Familia Vota, ProgressNow Colorado and Swing Left plans to organize protests outside of the town hall both before and afterward.
Heated town hall debates have been a staple of the past several months, especially as Republicans tried to convince constituents that the repeal and replacement of Obamacare was necessary – efforts that have so far failed in Congress.
Coffman made national news in January when he left early from a “community event” that his team said were actually one-on-one meetings, angering a large group of constituents present at Aurora’s Central Library for the event.