Press Release: Betsy Rader Takes Town Hall Pledge

Thursday, April 12, 2018
Contact: Brexton Isaacs,
Betsy Rader Takes Town Hall Pledge
Rader recently attended town hall organized by OH-14 students
Novelty, OH – On Saturday, Betsy Rader, the Democratic candidate for Congress in Ohio’s 14th District, attended a public town hall organized by students from across OH-14. The public forum, which was hosted in Ashtabula County at the First United Congregational Church of Christ in Jefferson, was a part of a series of town halls nationwide, called “Town Hall For Our Lives,” and was put together following the March For Our Lives. Congressman David Joyce declined the students’ invitation to attend.
“I was honored to be invited to talk with folks, hear their concerns, and learn what actions they’d like to see Congress take. I am so impressed by the incredible students who organized the event and spoke; it’s important that we listen to them and consider their perspectives. They’re not only the leaders of tomorrow — they’re the leaders of today,”  said Betsy Rader. “It’s a real shame that Congressman Joyce hasn’t held a town hall this term; he’s missing out on a great opportunity to hear from the people he is supposed to represent.”
Joyce has come under scrutiny from constituents for refusing to hold or attend a public town hall during his current term, and Town Hall Project has labeled Congressman Joyce as a “Missing Member.” During Saturday’s town hall, local educator and community organizer Jess Leveto called on Congressman Joyce to hold a public, in-person town hall at a time and venue of his choosing (video). In Joyce’s place, the student town hall organizers held open a chair with his name on it (photos, video).
On Thursday, Betsy Rader took the Town Hall Project’s “Town Hall Pledge,” formalizing her commitment to being accessible to voters. As part of the pledge, Betsy is committing to hold a minimum of four town halls each calendar year of her term that are free and open to the public (video).
“Voters tell me repeatedly that they’re frustrated by how inaccessible Congressman Joyce is. People want a Representative in Congress who shows up in our communities, listens, and responds to folks in an open, transparent way; that’s not what we’re getting right now from David Joyce. That’s why I’m proud to take the Town Hall Pledge; it’s an honor to be able to listen to people’s concerns and I’m committed to being their voice in Washington,” said Betsy Rader.
Justin Dennis, reporter with the Star Beacon, covered Saturday’s town hall in Ashtabula County. See below for excerpts, or read the full story here.
Organizers invited Republican U.S. Rep. David Joyce and his Democratic opponent in the November mid-terms Betsy Rader, an employment attorney from Russell Township, to hear from voters. Joyce did not attend.
Several Ashtabula and Lake county high schoolers now growing up in a post-Columbine world did, however. For most, it was their first political summit.
“(Gun violence is) a reality that we’ve had to grow up with that I’m not entirely sure (adults) understand,” James Elliott, a Mentor High senior and the event’s emcee, told the Star Beacon. “You don’t fully grasp it until you’ve lived it.
During the town hall, Rader said she doesn’t accept any NRA funding, to applause. Grassroots gun legislation group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America — several members of which attended Saturday’s rally — named Rader a “common sense” gun safety candidate, she said.
“I think everybody wants guns to be out of the hands of criminals and terrorists. Everyone wants their kids to be safe,” Rader said. “So why can’t we come together and have a discussion about universal background checks and implementing that? Why in the world is the Centers for Disease Control (and Prevention) not allowed to study the causes of gun violence?