A group of 10 progressive activists staged a "pop-up town hall" in a hallway of the Maryland State House on Thursday, asking Gov. Larry Hogan, R - who did not make an appearance - to stand with them on issues such as immigration enforcement, health care, charter schools and sick leave.
The demonstration was led by Cheverly, Maryland, resident Elizabeth MacKenzie, who said her repeated requests to meet with Hogan about the direction he is taking the state and his lack of public opposition to President Donald Trump's administration have largely been ignored.
Streaming live video of their efforts online, the activists stood near Hogan's constituent services office, reading statements and posing questions as they waited for a member of his staff to meet with them.
"Will you personally speak out against attempts to cut funding to the Chesapeake Bay?" asked Prince George's County, Maryland, resident Judi Decker, referring to the Trump administration's plan to cut federal support for an environmental cleanup program.
The activists gave up after 45 minutes and headed to the office of Senate President Thomas "Mike" Miller, D-Calvert, where they called on the legislative leader to support a bill that limits police cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
They said they were concerned about Miller's remarks on Wednesday suggesting that the measure would not pass out of the Senate in its current form. But they were happy when one of Miller's top aides came out to exchange contact information and promised to relay their message to the lawmaker.
MacKenzie, whose group calls itself "Hear Us, Hogan," said she has made weekly visits to Hogan's office for nearly two months to request a conversation with the governor or one of his legislative aides. She said the director of constituent services has accepted messages she has delivered from activists, but she has had no luck landing the meeting her team wants.
Hogan spokeswoman Amelia Chasse said the governor meets with hundreds of constituents every week at public events throughout the state.
"The governor firmly believes that everyone has a right to express their views, and he takes all of the input that our administration receives from constituents into account as we work to make Maryland better," she said.
Thursday's effort was the latest attempt by progressives to tie Hogan to Republican Party positions that are unpopular in Maryland.
Last month, three activists crashed a Board of Public Works meeting headed by the governor, interrupting it with calls for him to oppose Trump administration actions that they said would harm immigrants, refugees, women and the nation's health care system.
Progressive Maryland executive director Larry Stafford Jr., who helped coordinate the disruption and joined Thursday's gathering, described both efforts as part of a grass-roots movement inspired by a "growing groundswell of people who are concerned."
Critics last month also flooded Hogan's Facebook account with comments urging him to denounce the Trump administration's travel ban and GOP plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, among other policies. The deluge prompted Hogan's office to block a number of posters and delete many comments from the site.
Many of the participants in Thursday's gathering are affiliated with other progressive groups. MacKenzie said she organized the event through social media.
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