A group of progressive activists showed up at state Sen. Alberta Darling's Menomonee Falls office Tuesday to protest what they said was her refusal to meet with constituents.
The group, the Grassroots North Shore, wants Darling to hold listening sessions on the state budget in her district. The group of about 15 people left letters at Darling’s office in Menomonee Falls. Darling, who supported Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed state budget, is one of several state senators facing recall.
“We’re here to make a statement,” said Curtis Marshall, who lives in River Hills. “No one has been able to see her in a couple of months. I’ve called her, I’ve e-mailed her, but there is no response. She’s hiding from us. I’m really concerned about the budget how it affects people who have little or no health coverage.”
Andy Potts, a spokesman for Darling, disputes the contention that the River Hills Republican is avoiding meeting with constituents.
“She’s quite available,” Potts said. “They can call her office and schedule a meeting. That’s the best way for people to go.”
Martha Pincus, who lives in Fox Point, said she has not gotten a chance to discuss issues with Darling. Pincus said Walker's proposed state budget unfairly targets poor people and unions.
“She’s appeared at a couple of meeting with (Congressman F. James) Sensenbrenner. He usually has his Republican politicians with him,” Pincus said. “I feel that I’m not being served by Alberta Darling. I have written letters, my husband is a physician and we have both signed these letters. We get these stock letters from the Alberta Darling’s people and not one of concerns we raise has ever been addressed. It’s sad. It’s very upsetting.”
Potts said that Darling, who is the co-chairman of the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee, was in meeting Tuesday.
“It’s a busy time here in Madison,” Potts said. “She’s going to be here quite a bit. The goal is to be done by the end of May.”
Members of the Grassroots North Shore group stressed that meeting with constituents - whether they support or oppose you - is part of the deal of being a lawmaker. And they insist that Darling has failed them.
“The principle of democracy is founded on communication and dialogue,” Marshall said. “This administration, which Alberta is a part of, absolutely refuses to talk with or negotiate with the people, especially when it comes to collective bargaining rights.”