Outside the walls of the federal courthouse on Tuesday, approximately 500 members of Indivisible Kentucky rallied asking Senator Mitch McConnell to listen to his constituents. Using the chant, “No Ban, No Wall, Mitch McConnell take our call!” people held signs and stood together as speakers told stories and members of the press detailed the group’s plea for time with their never-present Congressman.
While the rally focused specifically on Senator McConnell, the larger theme directly addressed Donald Trump’s unpopular Muslim ban that began tearing apart families and placing translators, doctors and other professionals in danger over the weekend.
“Mayors are being forced to declare cities sanctuaries, and I say why? Why is America not a sanctuary for everybody?” asked Reena Paracha, one of the two speakers at the rally. “No one puts their child in a boat unless they know drifting in the waters is less treacherous than being on the land.”
She added, “McConnell has chosen to stay silent — and perhaps that is because his wife may hold a cabinet position in Trump’s regime.”
Indeed across the state McConnell’s constituents have had a near insurmountable mission when attempting to call any of McConnell’s offices (both in Washington, D.C. and across Kentucky).
Commenting on the difficulty, Indivisible Kentucky co-founder Dawn Cooley said, “We’re very concerned that Mitch McConnell hasn’t been taking our calls. We’re his constituents, so how can he hear what we want him to do if he doesn’t answer our calls?”
McConnell’s offices issued a statement regarding his phone lines saying,
“Sen. McConnell’s staff answers as many calls as possible in the course of a workday, but thanks to a coordinated effort by liberal activists across the country many Kentuckians have found it difficult in recent weeks to get through to their senator to discuss the issues of the day, schedule meetings, or seek timely assistance. We appreciate the patience of our constituents, and will continue to do our very best to respond to every Kentuckian who contacts our office.”
This doesn’t appear to mesh with the experiences of many Kentuckians as Indivisible Kentucky heard from many of McConnell’s constituents that his phone lines went directly to voice mail many times, and that voice mail would not accept messages.
Moreover, his regional offices have offered constituents a less-than-warm reception by refusing to attend rallies meant to address his office, being unavailable for individual and townhall meetings with constituents, and refusing to divulge McConnell’s weekly agenda or plans for the upcoming Congressional recess.
McConnell’s aides suggested those constituents wishing to get word to him to express opinions or schedule meetings use the contact form on his website. That form explicitly states his office’s receipt of those messages can be delayed saying it can “take up to 45 days to receive a response.” Moreover, it recommends instead calling the very numbers McConnell never has staffed:
For urgent matters, press inquiries, and scheduling requests please call my office directly. If you are a Kentucky resident currently serving in the military or temporarily residing outside the state, please use your home address.
While Senator McConnell continues avoiding his constituents, the crowds outside his office will only grow each week as people gather asking him to answer to those who pay his salary.