Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR) ends a Town Hall meeting in 2011 after tough questions from the audience about jobs, and the Republican proposed tax plan that strongly favored the wealthy.
Here's your chance to take part and push back! Progressive activists plan to turn up the heat on Republican lawmakers at their town hall meetings during the August recess with questions for them on issues such as Obamacare and immigration reform.
Americans United for Change will send representatives to Republican town halls mainly in swing states, but also in red states as the group tries to go after Republicans like Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, reports Amanda Terkel at The Huffington Post.
"This is a new approach," said Brad Woodhouse, president of the progressive group. "The theory in the past has been to be stealth about the effort to confront members at town halls — but sometimes it's been too stealth, and we haven't generated enough activity."
"Since everyone knows that both sides are doing this, we're going to be public-facing about it," Woodhouse said.
The group recently launched Accountable Congress, giving those who want to participate information and tools about when and where GOP senators and House members will be speaking while on recess, complete with talking points on a variety of issues from immigration to gun violence.
Woodhouse says he hopes activists will engage with the lawmakers, ask tough questions, and report the results, so that Americans United can share the outcomes. They also plan to have daily conference calls to coordinate strategies with activists.
Franklin Sain, a 42-year-old Colorado Springs man, was arrested last Friday for threatening Colorado lawmaker Rep. Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora) over gun control legislation that she is currently sponsoring and that recently passed in the state House.
Franklin Sain is accused of threatening Fields and her daughter using racial and sexual slurs.
Fields told KOA Radio that she does not know Sain, and said "All I know is the kinds of things that he said were very inappropriate, and they're alarming, and they were very intimidating."
"It started last week around the 13th or the 14th," Fields told KOA. "And then the emails got worse; it started to escalate until it got to a letter that was sent to the Capitol. At first, I was really taken aback by the tone and the language in it, especially the racial overtones - I've just never seen something like that before. No one has ever said those things or written those things towards me in the last two-and-a-half years that I've been serving the state. So, I was like 'Wow, this is unbelievable.' And then they kept coming."
9News has obtained the arrest affidavit, and now the full scope of threats allegedly left by Sain over a nine day period are viewable. The threat of violence and use of racist language is prevalent throughout the messages, and they messages appear to escalate in tone by the ninth day. Caution: The language used is explicit and extremely offensive.
There are many misspelled words and incorrect grammar usage in the messages, and they appear as written in the affidavit, along with censoring of offensive words.
According to an affidavit, one of the letters alleged to have been written by the Colorado Springs man reads, "Rhonda Fields, mother of [Field's daughter]. Death to both." The letter goes on to say "There will be blood! I'm coming for you, N----- B----."
In one of the emails, Sain allegedly wrote, "hopefully somebody Gifords [sic] your asses with a gun."
The following is one of seven emails police say Sain sent to Fields:
"THANKS N----- C---! You really think passing nay more laws will stop gun violence? You and that other N----- OBAMA are living in fantasy land. Chicago and DC have the most strict gun laws in the nation and more people die from gun violence than anywhere. You f---ing c---s are pathetic excuse for civil servants. Hell, n-----s love shooting themselves with GATS, isn't that what your people call it. What you have done here is creater [sic] criminals out of law abiding citizens, and put yourself out of a job. You politicians have no idea what you are even doing anyway, do you know how long it takes some to change a magazine, less than a second, so what if some with experience decides to flip out and bring their gun in with 5 or so 10 round magazines, they can do the same amount of damage. Limiting magazine sizes is stupididty, [sic] and will not work..."
Then the most unhinged of Sain's messages also refers to Field's daughter:
Rhonda Fields, N----- C---, Mother of -----, Death to Both, All N----- Back to Africa, F--- you, F--- Your Laws, I Keep my 30 Round Magazines, There Will Be Blood!, I'm Coming For You, N----- B----
Sain told police that he didn't mean to threaten Fields, and regrets the language he used. He has no prior record, and is the chief operating officer at SofTec Solutions in Englewood, Colorado, where he does consulting work for the government and private organizations
House Speaker Mark Ferrandino and two other Democratic Reps also received similar threatening messages.
Tuesday afternoon, SofTec announced the suspension of Sain via Facebook:
"SofTec Solutions, Inc. has been informed of allegations against our employee, Mr. Frank Sain. We are shocked to learn of these allegations and are taking this matter very seriously. If true, these actions are highly inappropriate and will not be tolerated. Pending SofTec’s investigation into this matter, Mr. Sain has been suspended immediately from further duties at SofTec. SofTec Solutions is a minority-owned, small business and we employ a large diverse workforce. We will absolutely not tolerate any racial, sexual, gender-based slurs or threats of violence by employees."
The full arrest affidavit is available online here, but caution, as the language is explicit and offensive. Sain is scheduled to appear in court on March 8, 2013.
Many complained about long waits for provisional ballots, which are given to those who don’t show up on the poll roster or fail to produce proper identification.
Officials with Promise Arizona in Action, an organization that advocates immigration reform and fights discrimination, said they are concerned that poll workers were given pre-election instructions that may have forced the huge number of provisional ballots. They also said numerous voters reported their names were not on lists used by precinct workers.
Petra Falcon, executive director of Promise Arizona, said she was told that 200,000 provisional ballots were cast, as well as 200,000 early ballots. She said counting of those votes will not even begin until this morning and she feared the Maricopa County sheriff’s race would be called before then. And it was, with Sheriff Joe Arpaio beating Democrat Paul Penzone to win his sixth term in office.
“Four hundred thousand ballots — that’s a lot,” Falcon said. “Even if it’s an Arpaio win, those votes should be counted.”
Roopali Desai, Promise Arizona’s attorney, said the number of provisional ballots is “unprecedented” in Arizona — or anywhere. “Nobody can explain it,” she added. “We’re trying to get to the bottom of it.”
An update on Thursday shows the number of uncounted early and provisional ballots in Arizona is far greater than just the earlier reported 400,000...