The signs said, “Where is Kevin?” and “Make America sane again.”

The chant repeated in call-and-answer style, “Kevin, do your job!”

Between 100 and 150 people gathered in front of the DoubleTree Hotel on Rosedale Highway Tuesday to ask their congressman, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, why he had time to attend a GOP fundraiser at the hotel Tuesday night yet declined an invitation to participate in a town hall discussion scheduled for Wednesday.

The town hall is to be held at 7 p.m. at the Park Stockdale Civic Association Hall, 205 Rio Bravo Drive.

“Kevin just got re-elected. Why is it so important for him to attend a party fundraiser? You think it would be more important for him to speak to his constituents,” said Mary Anne Stiern-McLay, a retiree from the Bakersfield Police Department.

Indeed, House Majority Leader McCarthy was slated to give an “inside look” at Washington policy and politics at the annual Lincoln Day Dinner fundraiser at the hotel. The evening’s keynote speaker was scheduled to be GOP Congressman Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a member of the Trump transition team.

This fundraiser is the largest local GOP event of the year, according to organizers.

“We’re thrilled with the new political era. This will be one grand night for the Grand Old Party,” this year’s dinner Chairman and Taft Mayor Dave Noerr said in a statement.

Wednesday morning, McCarthy spokesman Matt Sparks said, "Congressman McCarthy is pleased to support our local Republican Party in its annual fundraising event to promote our principles and solutions facing our community, state, and nation.

"The congressman has a previously scheduled charitable event" Wednesday evening.

Tuesday’s gala event left many at the rally wondering where McCarthy’s priorities lie.

Sloan Holmes, who attended the rally with a friend, said her son had a brain tumor when he was 12. Years later as an adult, he received a letter from his insurance company informing him that his lifetime benefits had run out.

When the Affordable Care Act was passed during the Obama administration, it prohibited the practice by insurance companies of denying individuals coverage due to a pre-existing condition.

“That was important to us,” Holmes said. It was a relief that my son could not be denied coverage.”

But now the Republican-controlled Congress is seeking to dismantle the law.

The United States is the richest, most advanced nation in the world, Holmes said. “We should be able to take care of our own.”

Organizers of today’s town hall say they invited McCarthy but the invitation was declined. They contend that he is not interested in engaging with constituents who have concerns about the direction the country is taking.

Supporters who donate $10,000 could sit at McCarthy’s table at the dinner, and have his ear, organizers said. But what about average Americans?

People are fearful, said Jesse Aguilar, a high school teacher who spoke at the rally. They see the direction the country is taking, he said, as “an attack on those folks least able to defend themselves. And that is ominous.”

The day before his inauguration as president, Donald Trump spotted McCarthy at a luncheon. “Where’s Kevin?” he asked. “There’s my Kevin.”

A sign at Tuesday night’s protest asked another question:

“Whose Kevin are you?”

(14) comments

REMUDA

Let the system play out. If Kevin is there, we'll know he's covered the bases. If not, then we need to know why. If the protesters are genuine and not organized by outside agitators, we'll soon know that too. Tom McClintock was escorted by cops recently from his town hall, fearlessly...a new feature to such events. A statement from Kevin would be good. A townhall spokesperson might make some headway, it there is one--whomever organized the 'event'. A deeper look into these 'events' is needed, as Tom and Kevin are not the "Lone Rangers" here.

Jpb1055

I believe Obama Care is dying a natural death regardless of what Trump's plans are. Those who have coverage will only benefit from changes made if only the Republican establishment can follow Trump's example. We all deserve to have our elected representative confront those who reelected him and even those who did not. I can imagine that most of those protesting the loudest at other town hall meetings did not vote for those elected. Trump is doing exactly what I hoped he would do - "Getting the job done", while the liberal's are in panic mode and having emotional meltdowns. Hurray for executive orders!

Jack99

Hey Steven, Yes first amendment is protected till they disrupt commerce or start violence which is what a lot of these end up being. Just like my right to say what I want. Plain and simple the citizens dont just plan a town hall and expect the guy to show. Plans have to be made. Thought a scholar like yourself would know that. Are you sure Sorros is a citzen, might want to check on that.

Ramon del Oeste

Kevin is the Representative of ALL the people on the 23rd District. That includes Dems and Repubs, rich and poor, brown white and black. He should have regular town hall meetings for all of us.

Stephen

Republicans have won it all. And, by disregarding the constitutional responsibilities of the senate, they even get the supreme court. So why should they pay attention to anyone outside their ideological bubble? Note that they excluded the media from their little self congratulatory love fest as those who pay to play get the access to the halls of power. They certainly don't want any "fake news" (defined as provable facts they find inconvenient or unpleasant) spoiling the party.

With their electorial sweep checks and balances are largely gone. They are absolutely giddy with their empowerment to make society meaner, less inclusive and science denying responses to all domestic issues while making society less safe from the laws of unintended consequences with the president's immigration policies. For Republicans and other low information types it's all unicorns and roses until the realities of crime, wall street excesses and air and water pollution become more noticeable. Then maybe voters will make wiser choices.

Margaret

A town hall meeting is a great idea! It is part of the democratic process. Citizens are concerned that McCarthy is just concerned with partisan agendas, and that he is not really listening to his constituents. It would send a positive message to voters if he was willing to attend.

Tam Daras

Sloan Holmes is neither a snowflake or fruitcake. Outstanding science teacher, she is also a concerned parent and faithful wife. How dare you!

Brian

These protesters are idiots, it is very obvious that the paid agitators are organizing these hostile town halls across the country. These people don't vote and definitely wouldn't vote for Kevin. I think they should wait and see the news on there gifted from my tax dollar obama phone of what new policy will be put out before the protest. They will still be pissed because they will have to pay for it. No more freebies and sorros hopefully dies soon.

Tam Daras

I know many of these people. They are in fact registered voters and not supported by so called payed agitators. Kevin McCarthy's office staff, not a Kevin, were very helpful in getting my Dad, a WW2 veteran, a final resting place in the national cemetery. Other than that, I have no idea what he has done for Kern County.

Stephen

It's obvious? How is it obvious they are paid agitators? And how do you know protestors don't vote. What part of the First Amendment don't you understand? And wishing the death of a citizen who has every right to do what he does? Really? As an apparent low information right winger it's obvious you are short on knowledge of the constitution right wingers frequently in their hypocrisy usually claim to so strongly support so here is the relevant part:
https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/first_amendment

First Amendment (from a Cornell University Law School page)


First Amendment: An Overview
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference. See U.S. Const. amend. I. Freedom of expression consists of the rights to freedom of speech, press, assembly and to petition the government for a redress of grievances, and the implied rights of association and belief. The Supreme Court interprets the extent of the protection afforded to these rights. The First Amendment has been interpreted by the Court as applying to the entire federal government even though it is only expressly applicable to Congress. Furthermore, the Court has interpreted, the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as protecting the rights in the First Amendment from interference by state governments. See U.S. Const. amend. XIV.

Peter Roth

Don't get me wrong, I like Ike.

jtorczon

It should be apparent to these folks that Kevin is not on their side as long as they favor issues that Americans who voted for Trump are against. It's too bad that they are no longer benefiting from eight years of Obama's reckless presidency. They'll just have to get used to a new sheriff being in town.

Hatchimal

So he doesn't want to go to a town hall where people have torches and pitchforks? I don't blame him. The Rolling Stones know you can't always get what you want. Not sure about the protesters.

GaryJohns

Snowflakes and fruitcakes.....

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