Editor’s note: We have received the below letter to the editor from Congressman Dan Donovan’s office, in response to one by his constituent requesting a public town hall. The original story about the Chamber of Commerce event is here, along with a video of the event so you can hear for yourself. Patrick Ryan is Congressman Dan Donovan’s Communications Director.
To The Editor:
I write in response to a February 9 letter from Mallory McMahon printed in your paper. The record must be corrected. Ms. McMahon’s letter claimed that “multiple” requests for a meeting with Congressman Donovan had gone unanswered, and that Donovan “claims to have an open door policy” but “we have found this to be untrue.” What Ms. McMahon failed to disclose is that on February 8, Donovan’s scheduler proposed to Ms. McMahon a date and a time for a meeting between Congressman Donovan and Ms. McMahon in Brooklyn. Her claim is patently false.
Unfortunately, this attempt at disruption and deception isn’t an isolated incident. Last week, about three dozen angry protestors refused to allow Congressman Donovan to speak at a Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce event. At every opportunity, they screamed and shouted him down. The police had to interrupt the panel, which included four Democratic Members of Congress, to escort the protestors from the premises. They’re not interested in a respectful exchange of ideas or even in allowing Congressman Donovan an opportunity to speak with them – they seem to want only to shout down any opinion different from theirs.
Concerned citizens have every right to express their views, a right that’s brilliantly enshrined in the United States Constitution. But to shout down dissenting viewpoints – to go on curse-laden tirades against interns in our office and to personally attack elected officials on Facebook – is a step too far.
Despite the fact that the disruption is being driven by organized party activists, Congressman Donovan will continue to offer face-to-face meetings with everybody he represents, including – and especially – those who disagree with him. I hope future discourse can be civil, respectful, and most of all, truthful.