Springfield NAACP leader Talbert Swan calls on Sen. Scott Brown to reconsider invitation for “town hall” meeting

Published: Friday, January 27, 2012
By Robert Rizzuto, The Republican

U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, left, and Springfield NAACP Chapter President Rev. Talbert Swan II. (AP & Republican file photos)

SPRINGFIELD- The Springfield chapter of the NAACP is renewing its request for a sit down with Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, after Brown’s office declined an invitation to hold a town hall style discussion with local members.

On Dec. 20, Rev. Talbert W. Swan II, president of the growing Springfield NAACP chapter, sent Brown’s office a request for him to come to the city and hear directly from the group’s members.

“You are well aware of the difficulties suffered by middle class and poor Americans in the current economic climate. You are also keenly aware that the American people grow weary of partisan politics in Washington taking priority over the best interests of the American people,” Swan wrote in his initial invitation. “Senator, we want you to directly hear from residents from all walks of life, from small business owners and their employees to the unemployed, on their ideas how to increase jobs and prosperity in our area along with many other concerns. It is important that the constituents understand your priorities and to work together with you to craft a consensus solution for Massachusetts.”

On Jan.12, Swan received an email back from Brown’s office, although it didn’t have the answer he was looking for.

“Thank you for your kind invitation for Senator Brown to participate in a
meeting with Springfield branch of the NAACP. As you might imagine there are extraordinary demands on the Senator’s time and we do our best to accommodate worthwhile requests such as yours,” said Maria M. Coakley, a state scheduler for Brown’s Massachusetts office in Boston. “Unfortunately, due to the schedule of the U.S. Senate, the unpredictability of Senate business and the high volume of requests he receives, we must unfortunately decline. We appreciate your understanding.”

And this week, following a campaign stop in Springfield by the senator, Swan called on Brown to reconsider the request, calling the situation as it stands “quite concerning.”

“While I understand the demands of your extremely busy schedule, I remind you that you serve a very diverse constituency across the commonwealth, including members of the NAACP,” Swan wrote in the letter. “It is no secret that you are in the midst of a tough reelection campaign and will be spending quite a bit of time in the commonwealth in the months to come. It is inconceivable that you cannot find any time during the course of this entire election season to meet with our members in Springfield, which is a part of the Commonwealth, which you represent.”

John Donnelly, press secretary for Brown’s office in Washington D.C., said that due to the amount of requests for a meeting the office receives, the senator can’t accommodate each one.

“Senator Brown receives hundreds of worthwhile scheduling requests every week,” Donnelly told The Republican. “He regrets he cannot accommodate each and every request, but we continue to look for future opportunities to meet with Reverend Swan and his congregation.”


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