MORRISTOWN, NJ — Constituents of New Jersey’s 11th Congressional district continued to press Republican Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, who represents parts of Essex, Morris, Sussex and Passaic counties, to explain his views on a number of the new Trump administration’s policies.
With signs and slogans of “Where’s Rodney?” and “We’re not going away,” voters from various Essex County towns protested again outside Frelinghuysen’s Morristown office after delivering letters and requesting a meeting with the 11-term congressman to discuss his positions or recent votes on many hot-button issues. The Jan. 27 morning and afternoon protests attracted more than 150 concerned citizens.
“This is my seventh request to meet with the congressman since the election and he’s been totally unresponsive,” West Orange resident Elizabeth Redwine said. “These are real issues that have real consequences for people in the 11th district, and he has an obligation as an elected official to engage with the voters he was elected to represent.”
Redwine, who launched the political activist organization Essex Rising, was joined by other voters from Essex county — many from New Jersey 11th for Change, another protest group — who want Frelinghuysen to hold a town hall meeting, which he has not done since 2013.
Attempts to reach the congressman for comment were unsuccessful.
While staffers in the congressman’s legislative office said the constituents’ questions and concerns would be relayed to the congressman, the staffers were unable to state Frelinghuysen’s position on any of the issues in question or whether the congressman would meet with them.
“Frelinghuysen is a mystery,” Kathleen Fifield of West Orange said. “For example, just a few years ago he was a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood and a woman’s right to choose. He wrote, ‘Not only do I believe in funding it, I send my personal check to Planned Parenthood of New Jersey, my wife and I do, every year … I’ve always supported a woman’s right to choose.’ How does he reconcile his professed beliefs with his support of HR7, which would dramatically increase restrictions on women’s reproductive rights? His constituents deserve to know whether he actually supports the bill he voted for or if he ignores his own beliefs for political expediency.
“We’re not going away,” Fifield continued. “The longer he avoids his constituents, the greater our frustration gets. And the election that’s coming up is going to reflect that.”
The text was provided by MaryBeth Joyce and photo by Debra Caplan.