A stealth protest targeting Republican Congressman John Faso has gone public after the room rally organizers had rented for the event was yanked--for what they say are political reasons.
Nonsense, says the Schoharie County GOP; it was just a case of overbooking for space they’d already reserved for Thursday’s 70th annual Lincoln Day Dinner.
The rally will go on anyway, said Bob Nied of Richmondville, one of those involved, but now, outside Schoharie Quality Inn and Suites, not inside.
As well it should, said Chris Tague, vice president of the local GOP.
“I’m absolutely for anyone exercising their First Amendment rights. “I just hope it’s done politely and respectfully and safely.”
Congressman Faso, elected in November, will be the featured speaker at Thursday’s event, normally a low-key evening of Republican socializing, awards, speeches, and door prizes.
Angry over the Congressman’s vote to overturn Obamacare and angrier over the fact that he’s refused to meet locally with constituents, as many as 200 protestors plan to show up Thursday, Mr. Nied said.
Initially, the grassroots effort was reluctant to tip its hand and publicize the event, but Mr. Nied said that changed after he booked and paid for the room next to the GOP event, only to get a call late Monday that the reservation was being cancelled and the check returned because the room was no longer available.
“It’s unfortunate. I was assured the space was available. In fact, I was told there were a couple of rooms. We wanted a place where people could go and make their concerns known,” Mr. Nied said. “We’ll still be there, as close as we can get. Whether that’s the road…I don’t know yet.”
Mr. Tague hasn’t been involved in setting up Thursday’s dinner, but said typically, the GOP rents the entire bottom floor of the hotel.
“I’m under the impression that it’s all just a misunderstanding,” he said, “but as long as they’re on public property and don’t harass the guests…fine.”
Still, Mr. Tague pointed out, the GOP didn’t stage a protest when Obamacare was passed and he doubts enough people have read Congress’s new health insurance proposal to be qualified enough to comment on it.
“We all need to step back and relax a little,” he said. “These have always been partisan events. We have ours and the Democrats have theirs.”
Instead of stepping back, protestors are stepping up, Mr. Nied said, with a press conference slated for 5pm before Congressman Faso, Senator Jim Seward, Assemblyman Pete Lopez and others beginning arriving.