U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman plans to hold a traditional town hall in April, when the Aurora Republican will be at home in his district during a scheduled congressional recess, his aides said Friday.
Coffman spokesman Daniel Bucheli told The Colorado Statesman that Coffman is looking for the right venue and nailing down the date for a town hall, likely sometime during the second full week of April. He was confirming an announcement made by campaign aide J.D. Key Friday morning at a GOP breakfast meeting in Highlands Ranch.
The traditional town hall will be the third phase of what Coffman has called a “listening tour,” intended to gather perspective from constituents and medical experts as the Republican-controlled Congress prepares to repeal the Affordable Care Act — known as Obamacare — and replace it with different legislation.
The first phase of the tour has been a series of meetings Coffman held this week with doctors and other caregivers along with patient-advocacy groups. The second phase, his spokesman announced earlier this month, will be the series of telephone town halls — enormous conference calls, potentially including thousands of callers — through the month of March, when Congress plans to be conducting business nearly nonstop.
Bucheli said Coffman’s listening tour has gone well this week.
“Congressman Coffman has been hearing from patient advocacy groups, patients themselves and healthcare professionals about what’s working, what’s not, and he’ll take that all back to Washington,” he said. Congress is likely to start voting to overhaul federal health care legislation in March, he added.
Coffman and other Republican members of Congress have been under fire from constituents and political opponents for declining to hold public town halls this week while Congress has been in recess.
Coffman drew national attention in late January when a local news station filmed him slipping out the back door of an Aurora library just before a scheduled afternoon event to meet with constituents was supposed to wrap up. (As has been Coffman’s custom for years, he met with constituents a few at a time, although dozens who showed up expecting a more traditional town hall didn’t get a chance to meet with the congressman. Coffman campaign aides and their allies ripped the response to the event, charging that paid protesters had been behind efforts to embarrass Coffman.)