CARSON CITY — About 150 placard-waving protesters lined the sidewalk in front of a casino here Wednesday to protest a visit by U.S. Sen. Dean Heller at a chamber of commerce luncheon.
The protesters cited a litany of concerns, including Heller’s support of President Donald Trump’s cabinet appointments and Trump’s executive orders on immigration. They complain that Heller, a Republican who is running for re-election in 2018, has not responded to their concerns.
Protesters represented several groups, including the Working Families Party, NARAL Pro-Choice Nevada, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada and Indivisible Northern Nevada members, supporters and allies.
The groups have said Heller’s office phones are consistently busy, he has not responded to constituent requests, and concerned citizens have been blocked from visiting his office in Reno.
Protesters carried signs asking Heller to protect the Affordable Care Act and supporting clean energy, as well as “Stop the War on Women,” “Keep Families Together” and “We Want a Town Hall.”
Inside, a sold-out crowd listened to Heller and Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., give an update on developments in Congress.
The future of Obamacare was a main topic of interest for those attending the event.
The discussion got heated for a time, but Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong, who was on site at the Gold Dust West casino, said “nobody was over the top.”
“Everybody had the opportunity to speak,” he said. “That is what is important.”
Rick Sheperd, who ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary in 2016 to face Amodei, said it was unfortunate that Heller and Amodei won’t have more public events.
“It would have been nice if we could have had a more respectful conversation,” he said. “The crowd was unruly; no chairs were thrown.”
When asked how the event went, Heller said he had a good time.
As Heller left the event, a protester asked him why he would not hold a town hall. Heller did not respond, got into the back of an SUV and left.
Protesters are confronting Republican members of Congress across the country this week as the lawmakers return home for a recess.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.