BEACON-After initially being told a health care town hall meeting called by the current congressman was public, and after arriving, being told it was private, at least one hundred Hudson Valley residents led by Assemblyman Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) marched triumphantly into St. John the Evangelist Church in Beacon tonight to participate in the event. During the meeting, which lasted approximately an hour, the Congressman took a few questions, but refused to do follow up, and dozens of people were left without the opportunity to voice their concerns.
A tape recording of a phone call by a Mahopac resident to the congressman’s Carmel office confirmed that the forum was open to the public, making it unclear as to why the many residents who showed up to hear their congressman were initially met with a ‘By Invitation Only’ sign at the door and turned away.
The health care town hall meeting was originally billed as open to the public, and the congressman’s spokesperson Meghan Smith told the Journal News today that Hall “has held several public health forums and has one scheduled for tonight in Dutchess County,” (‘Local House members cite health care outreach beyond town halls,’ 8/20/09) and Mid-Hudson News that the congressman “will host his own healthcare town hall meeting at the Southern Dutchess NAACP Thursday evening.” (‘Ball packs the room on healthcare issue,’ 8/20/09)
Ball, who has already conducted his own series of open town hall meetings on health care, is challenging the current congressman in New York’s 19th congressional district.