Protesters leave little notes for GOP Congressman Chris Collins

Posted at 7:25 PM, Feb 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-20 22:45:38-05

About 100 protesters rallied in front of GOP Congressman Chris Collins' office in Williamsville on Monday.

The group, many who live in Collins' district, left dozens of Post-it notes on the Congressman's door. They are demanding that he hold town hall meetings, for them to voice their concerns to him. Many say they're upset with the Congressman Collins for defending President Donald Trump's administration's policies and plans.

7 Eyewitness News spoke with Congressman Collins Monday.

"I don't find the group things as effective," Collins said. "People are more or less making rhetorical statements as opposed to asking questions and many of them come in with such a bias."

Collins says Town Halls are typically attended by extreme Right and Left and many times consists of people being disruptive and wanting to shout down.

"Anger wouldn't rise and frustration wouldn't rise, if he gave us more opportunities to access him," Jenna Wozer said.

The Republican lawmaker tells 7 Eyewitness News that he doesn't hold town hall meetings. He believes they are ineffective and often cause shouting matches.

"I have never thought town halls were a good way to communicate. So, I've never had them. So, certainly at this point in time I've stayed the course that I've always have, which is working with smaller groups," Rep. Collins said.

Collins' supporters think it's a bad idea to hold town halls after seeing the feisty crowds at Republican Congressman Tom Reed's town halls last weekend.

"It's just the only way they can get their way to scream him down interrupt the constituents. The real people who he represents and get on television," said supporter Michael Caputo.

Caputo created a GoFundMe Page  to raise enough money to put up billboards across Erie County in support of the congressman.

"Those of us who live in Chris Collins' district, the vast majority of us feel very proud of his support for Donald Trump and it's time for us to show it," Caputo said.

"I felt like we were finally moving forward. Now, I feel like we are going backwards and this is about our way of life," said protestor Michelle Roman said.

Collins tells us the best way to contact him is in person, by phone, or e-mail. It's something political analyst Russ Gugino says is the most effective way to get a Congressman's attention.

"Keep in mind that all the purpose of all this communication is to be heard, but there's a difference between being heard and agreed with," Gugino said.