Spokane holds town hall meeting in response to Congresswoman’s lack of town halls

by Emily Goodell | Staff Writer

“Jacklyn Archer, Vice President of Spokane County Democrats and student at Eastern Washington University, speaks about unity, love and giving voice to the voiceless at rally on Thursday” Photo by Emily Goodell

Spokane County residents expressed their frustrations toward Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers this week, who did not hold a physical town hall meeting during the congressional recess.

In response to her perceived lack of communication, the congresswoman’s constituents held their own town hall Wednesday night without her (although she was invited and video footage of the meeting was sent to her). The Downtown Spokane Public Library event was organized by Gonzaga student Samuel Smith.

Another event organized in response to McMorris Rodgers’ absence was the “Hear Our Voices Rally in Spokane,” which was held Thursday morning outside the representative’s Spokane Office.

One of the driving forces in the conversation surrounding both events was President Trump’s Wednesday repeal of former president Barack Obama’s legal guidance regarding transgender youth being able to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.

Transgender activist and disabled veteran Jade Annasta said she is worried about transgender youth that will suffer because of Trump’s actions. She said she fought for everyone else in this country’s rights as hard as she fought for her own: even for those individuals that hate transgender people.

“If you’re not going to let the children use the bathrooms now, what’s going to happen to the adults?” Annasta said. “If you can’t use the bathroom in public, how can you go to work?  How can you go to school? How can you function?”

Spokane County resident Troy Hank Palmer spoke to the crowd, identifying himself as a trans man, and offering himself as a Facebook friend to any transgender youth watching.

“If I was in this position, if this happened to me when I was young, I would not be here today,” Hank Palmer said, “This is a huge suicide risk. We need to support those youths.”

More than 100 people attended each event. Another “people’s town hall” is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 28 at Riverside Place.

Contact Emily Goodell at egoodell18@my.whitworth.edu