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Congresswoman Tenney Speaks at Tea Party Forum in Binghamton

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Congresswoman Claudia Tenney spoke at a public forum at the Holiday Inn in Binghamton early Sunday afternoon. The event was sponsored by the Southern Tier Tea Party and was open to the public. However, anyone interested had to register prior to the event, provide identification at the door, and pay five dollars before entering. 

Congresswomen Tenney touched on a wide array of topical issues, such as tax reform, the 2018 budget, and the myths she believes to be surrounding the healthcare debate. After she spoke, she took questions from people in the crowd. 

"I'm just going to talk about what we are doing in Washington, what the agenda is going to be, answer as many questions as I can and as accurately as I can," said R-NY 22nd District Congresswoman, Claudia Tenney. 

Security was also tight at the event. Police were hired to monitor all participants that entered the forum. Tenney also had her own service at the event. Event coordinator for the Southern Tier Tea Party, Mark Cuda says it was a precautionary move to ensure the safety of everyone at the event. He added that the party wanted to invite the Congresswoman to speak in Binghamton, as a way to update people on what's going on in Washington.

"We wanted people to see and hear and participate with Tenney. We think the world of her, but we also know that there are divergent perspectives, but at the same time we do not want to exclude anybody," said Cuda. 

But only a small portion of the forum was filled with people. Less than 50 people came to hear Tenney speak. While the event was continuing inside, protesters gathered outside. 

"I was protesting outside, but I feel that it's important to hear Tenney in person. This is not a town hall. Nobody should confuse this with that. This is a small Tea Party meeting that we paid to enter, despite the fact that we don't support the tea party in order to meet our representative," said Binghamton resident and protester, Susan Walker. 

Around 20 peaceful protesters stood outside during the event. Joanne Baker, a group member of Concerned Women of Greater Binghamton, says she decided to stand outside to encourage the Congresswoman to listen to her constituents and hold an open town hall meeting. 

"I'm not here as necessarily a Democrat or a Republican. I am here because I think that Claudia Tenney should be having meetings and town halls where everyone is invited, and everyone gets to say their peace. When she says 'care' for all, I think that means she needs to speak to all of us as well," said Joanne Baker, Concerned Women of Greater Binghamton. 

And when asked for a response to the protesters outside, Congresswoman Tenney had this to say: "They're always there. There are protesters everywhere. It is their first amendment right and they are exercising it." 

The Southern Tier Tea Party also wanted to make clear that the Congresswoman only appeared as a featured guest speaker, and is not soliciting any funds or contributions.