Frustration, anger at NJ town hall amid congressman's absence

MARLTON, N.J. (WPVI) -- Colored sheets of construction paper coupled with 'yays' or 'nays' signaled the mood of the crowd.

No booing was allowed at New Jersey's District 3 town hall Wednesday night.

"I think the screaming and yelling and chanting is completely counterproductive to what we're trying to do. We're trying to get answers to questions," said organizer Eileen Hill, South Jersey NOW Indivisible.

Questions that weren't heard by the person hundreds had hoped to speak to.

We caught up with Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ 3rd District) at Sage Diner in Marlton.

"That was a set up following a script from an organization, one of the kinds I'm talking about, called Indivisible," said MacArthur. "I feel badly for the constituents of mine that want to have real dialogue with me, but I'm not going to get baited into a meeting that some outside group can just take over."

In the last week, raucous has filled town halls in traditionally Republican congressional districts across the county.

At Sen. Pat Toomey's town hall in Allentown, the crowd hung an empty suit in his place.

A poster hung above an empty seat for Congressman MacArthur on Wednesday night.

June Bilenky of Mt. Laurel tells us despite his absence, she still felt like it was productive to attend the town hall.

"Absolutely! Look at the crowd," said Bilenky.

Droves of constituents signed petitions, armed with signs. Some refuting what the White House on Wednesday called 'paid protesters.'

"I wish. I'd like to get paid," said Jackie Kostelny of Cinnaminson.

"I just came from work," said Keith Kostelny of Cinnaminson.

Still, the voices grow louder.

"I think he needs to know that this many people are interested in what he's doing, whether he calls people on a town hall and doesn't show up," said Bilenky. "Look at this crowd, it's amazing!"

Congressman MacArthur did hold a tele-town hall Wednesday evening in lieu of attending, and a lot of people were able to call in and have a Q&A session with him by phone.
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