May 20, 2017

Dear Mr. Brian Mast,

You have a misconception about what is happening in your district offices. I can only speak to the meetings in which I’ve been a participant (some as an IndivisibleMartin member, some not), but they are numerous, and on those occasions, our goal has NOT been to disrupt and harass as you say here and said in the Gil Smart opinion piece. Our goal has been to voice our sincere concerns about the current issues and your votes regarding them. Yes, we are worried, and yes, we are we legitimately angry. Yes, we are resisting Donald Trump’s agenda and consider you voting 97% in line with him unacceptable. But to say we have been volatile and disrespectful is a lie, and I dare your staff to state or prove otherwise. Where is all the screaming you and Smart talk about? On national news? Neither of you have any right to project that behavior onto us here where it has not occurred. We are calling, we are speaking, we are showing up, and we are respectfully asking to be heard. We are defending our democratic values and processes. In response, you send form letters that contain inaccurate information, often don’t even relate to an issue we’ve called about, and you refused to hold a town hall meeting, even after issuing a bogus survey about where to hold one. You’ve called us liars, and given us little, if anything, more than talking points on the issues.

The past two days, you avoided me personally in Washington. The excuses were valiant: a conflict of schedule with a foreign affairs issue (boy, Russia, I’ll say), and a “classified” meeting. Fine. Re-schedule me. Shoot me an email. Have your staff contact me instead of me constantly having to put those lovely, young worker bees so awkwardly on the spot. Stick your head out for two minutes and say, Hey, yeah, we should talk, let’s schedule a mutually convenient time. I get none of that in Florida (other than Derek, who has mostly engaged with me, if not filled me with any confidence that anything gets back to you), and I got none of it in DC where you should have tripped over yourself to at least say hello to a constituent. I do more than that every single day that I see trump supporters in my own office. So who is the disrespectful one?

I take umbrage with your description of constituent services as being for those that need help with things like Social Security and veterans issues, and that anyone else is essentially interfering with that and wasting your staff’s time. First of all, every constituent counts. If our issue is concern about our healthcare, or wanting a town hall, or the need for our lying president to be investigated, or for congress to demand his tax returns to be released, it counts. Those are issues we need congressional service and help with. Furthermore, I argue that WE, in fact, are the ones fighting for the protection of Social Security recipients and the welfare of veterans, including but not exclusive to healthcare (would you please get an automated door put in at the Fort Pierce VA clinic already?).

Finally, please, please stop saying “even if we disagree on issues, we can find common ground.” It is grating to hear you repeatedly misinterpret your job description as a forum for debate. Your job is to represent US. Listen to those whose stances happen to fall in line with yours, and listen to those who don’t. Tally those numbers, consider those positions, and report back to Washington accordingly. We are not supposed to be here to support or oppose YOU in anything. You are supposed to be here to represent us as a whole.

We live here, and always have. We are not going anywhere.

Sincerely, respectfully, politely, non-screamingly, resistantly yours,

Laurie Prim