Eden Prairie, MN – “Indivisible,” the progressive national group targeting GOP congress members organized Saturday morning’s protest at Congressman Erik Paulsen’s (R-CD3) office in Eden Prairie.
About 150 people turned out for the protest in the cold sunshine outside of 250 Prairie Center Drive, demanding that Paulsen hold a town hall meeting to speak with them regarding their concerns. “Indivisible” has been coordinating “With or Without You” town halls for Republican members of congress throughout the state. Another “With or Without You” meeting was scheduled in Burnsville for Congressman Jason Lewis on Saturday afternoon according to the Star Tribune.
This latest protest falls on the heels of Thursday night’s “With or Without You” CD3 town hall that was organized by progressive activist Kelly Guncheon in a Plymouth, Minnesota church. The Star Tribune reported that approximately 600 people attended that town hall meeting.
Speaking at Saturday’s protest outside of Paulsen’s Eden Prairie office, Guncheon told Alpha News, “We are here because Representative Erik Paulsen won’t come out and see us, we are coming to see him. You can lead someone to the mountain but not the mountain to them, so that’s why we’re here to let him know that he needs to come out and talk to us because he can’t represent us without talking to us. There is no reason to be afraid of us.”
Alpha News asked Guncheon if Paulsen was invited to Saturday’s protest. “We notified them (Paulsen’s office) that we were going to be here, but he’s not here as usual. And we had a meeting the other night that we had invited him to for quite awhile and he didn’t show up for that either. We had a town hall meeting,” When Alpha News asked why Paulsen didn’t show up, Guncheon said, “He said he had a prior commitment. He knew about this for many weeks before and apparently he was helping some high school kids, which is pretty admirable, but we had more than 2,000 people show up to want to talk to him and he wouldn’t. We offered alternate dates as well and he wouldn’t tell us what they would be. This is a follow up. This is the Indivisible group that is doing this. They do a terrific job of letting him know that we need to talk.”
Alpha News asked Guncheon if there will be other protests. “I’m sure there will be and we are going to be relentless. We have a long way to go. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. We’re going to be doing this on a regular basis,” Guncheon said.
A copy of the Indivisible group’s manual, “Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda,” can be found here, with instructions on how to influence members of Congress. The goals of the group include “Stall the Trump Agenda by forcing them from their priorities” and to “Reaffirm the illegitimacy of the Trump Agenda.”
A Facebook page called “Feb 23 Erik Paulsen ‘With or Without Him’ Town Hall Meeting” promoted this morning’s protest on one of their posts reading, “Demonstrate With Us!” The page has 1,281 “likes.”
“I am here because I want Congressman Paulsen to hear my voice. I am a cancer patient. His recent vote to repeal the protections of the ACA (Affordable Care Act) will repeal my life and I believe I deserve a chance to live. I am paying for his health care. Don’t repeal me,” said one protester when asked why she came out to join the event.
Chanting “Where is Erik?” “This is what democracy looks like,” and “No hate, no fear, Erik Paulsen We Want Your Ear”, protesters lined up along the entrance of the Star Bank building carrying signs. Cars whizzed by beeping their horns in support for the protesters along West 78th Street.
One of the organizers, Clara Severson led the protesters in singing “The Star Spangled Banner,” urging all to participate. Some wearing pink hats, others wearing “Indivisible” buttons sang the National Anthem as Severson conducted the crowd from the middle of the parking lot outside Paulsen’s office.
Paul O’Shea of Excelsior told Alpha News, “The issues are too important for him (Paulsen) not to speak to his constituents.”
Alpha News e-mailed Erik Paulsen for a comment, but he did respond at publication time.