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Scenes From Thursday’s Protest In Downtown Toms River

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It was quite a scene on the streets of Downtown Toms River on Thursday evening, as upwards of 100 citizens came together to get Congressman Tom MacArthur’s attention.

MacArthur, who was scheduled for an appearance on his regular ‘Ask The Congressman‘ program, has been in the crosshairs recently along with many of his fellow members of congress for allegedly dodging town halls.

On Wednesday, MacArthur was invited to participate in a Citizens Town Hall in Marlton, but instead hosted a tele-hall, aimed at giving constituents an opportunity to speak about the issues.  Not satisfied with that medium, the anger of his constituents boiled over into the form of a protest on Thursday, organized through Indivisible, a group that has had its own controversy with accusations of paying for protesters.

The people on the streets of Toms River wanted to make one thing very clear: they were not being paid.  With custom signs displaying personal information such as town zip codes, they wanted all to know that they were local, and their movement was organic.

Chants of ‘Impeach Trump’, ‘Not My President’ and ‘Where’s Tom?’ echoed throughout the evening, indicating that the group’s biggest concerns begin at the highest level, and trickle down to local office.

Overall, the night was peaceful in nature, with members of the Toms River Police Department keeping the streets clear and everyone involved out of harm’s way.  The dissenting opinions within the group were also kept to a minimum, though there were several back and forth chants and loud dialogues between pro- and anti-Trump perspectives.

While the majority of the crowd missed Rep. MacArthur’s arrival thanks to a strategic entry, they were treated to the entire ‘Ask The Congressman‘ program thanks to WOBM’s quick-thinking engineer, who set up a pair of speakers to play from the rooftop of the building.  While listening outside, the remaining group members began calling into the show and speaking with MacArthur, though not face-to-face, which was their ultimate goal.

Covering issues ranging from healthcare to the heroin epidemic, the program contained many ‘agree to disagree’ moments and although the Congressman didn’t cave to the pressure of walking into an unsanctioned town hall, he did reinforce that he is more than willing to talk and listen to anyone.  If you’d like to get in touch with Rep. Tom MacArthur, CLICK HERE.

If this night proved anything, it’s that the American spirit is alive and well in Ocean County, and despite differing ideologies, that’s something we should all be proud of.

UPDATE: After the program, those who waited long enough finally got their wish, as Rep. MacArthur took the time to greet his remaining constituents face-to-face.  From the Congressman’s official Twitter account:

Tom Mongelli contributed to this article. 

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