A group of East Texans was escorted out of the Regions Bank building in Tyler on Wednesday, after gathering outside with protest signs and seeking to visit the office of U.S. Sen. John Cornyn.
No one answered the door at Cornyn’s office, so the demonstrators left notes taped to the door, before being led out of the building by Tyler Police officers.
They also sought to visit the Austin Bank building office of Sen. Ted Cruz.
The group, Indivisible of Smith County, is asking senators to vote against the Republican plan to replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
The Republican plan is called the American Health Care Act, and the group says many East Texans would lose their health care coverage if the plan is passed by Congress and signed by President Trump.
“We realize the senators are not in town,” said Lee Hancock, one of the leaders of Indivisible of Smith County, a group affiliated with a national movement aimed at preserving the Affordable Care Act. “We really want to talk with their staffs.”
More than 23,000 residents of the first congressional district, which includes Smith County, could lose their insurance coverage if former President Barack Obama’s health care law is repealed, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Last month, a group of people from Indivisible of Smith County met U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, outside the People’s Petroleum Building downtown where he was speaking to the Tyler Young Professionals Network. They were requesting he hold town hall meetings to hear their concerns about the Trump administration’s agenda.
Gohmert said in that event and in a written statement that with many town halls being disrupted recently, having town halls would pose a safety hazard.
“I’ll keep meeting with people in East Texas - I’ve put 80,000 miles on my car in two years,” he said at the Tyler Young Professionals Network luncheon. “But I’m not going to put East Texans at risk. I don’t want to get anybody hurt.”
Indivisible of Smith County was formed for “resisting the Trump agenda,” according to its website. It’s part of a larger, national Indivisible movement, which advises its followers to stage visits to their local representatives and alert the media.
This story is developing and will be updated.