Some Tuscaloosa residents say U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby is going out of his way to avoid hearing their opinions on what’s going on in Washington.

One group, Concerned Citizens, is taking to the streets this afternoon because they feel it’s the only way their voices will be heard. The group is meeting just after noon outside the Federal Building and Courthouse on University Boulevard in downtown Tuscaloosa, where Shelby’s Alabama office is located.

All they want, they said, is an opportunity for a town hall meeting so they can express their concerns.

“We have a number of concerns about things that are going on in Washington right now,” said Mona Ochoa-Harshok. “We would just like for him to give us some answers.”

Concerned Citizens members said more Alabamians are getting involved in politics than ever before.

“We’ve become much more politically active because we are very concerned about what we see happening, and we want to try and make a difference,” Ochoa-Harshok said.

Some of the new laws coming from Washington are against the core values of the United States, they said, and anything affecting any one citizen or group affects the U.S. as a whole.

“We were founded by immigrants, and we are a nation of immigrants,” Ochoa-Harshok said.

The group has been reaching out to Shelby, but have not yet heard a response. Organizers said they were told he schedules one town hall meeting per county per year, but would not say when Tuscaloosa County’s next meeting will be.

They’ll be protesting each week until they get the town hall they’ve been requesting.


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