...after staff realized a member of the press was present.
Sandra Alexander said she scheduled the meeting weeks ago and was stunned that they were turned away. “We are going to be respectful and see if they will change their minds,” Alexander said.
After several minutes, no one returned to speak with the group. The constituents decided to hold the meeting in the lobby without the presence of Roskam’s staff.
“I am stunned at what happened,” Alexander said.
Alexander, of Glen Ellyn, said she arranged to meet with Roskam’s district director Lee Campuzano and outreach coordinator Eddie Corrigan. Corrigan told The Beacon-News reporter before the group had arrived that the press is not allowed in private meetings with constituents.
“It is a meeting with constituents — we are not shutting down the press,” Corrigan said. Corrigan said the meeting was planned between constituents and high level staff.
When the group arrived, another staff member behind a sliding glass window criticized the group for having invited the press and said that there was only to be about eight people at the meeting.
“We will reschedule the meeting,” he told the group.
Alexander said she was not informed of any conditions of the meeting.
She acknowledged that she did inform the congressman’s office that there would be about eight constituents present. Alexander said by Wednesday, she didn’t know how many people to expect and that she did prepare the group that it was likely not everyone would be invited into the meeting.
Alexander told the staff member that the reporter did not have to come into the meeting. The staffer walked away, and no one returned to provide any other explanation.
“He just ran off,” Alexander said. “They never told me that the media could not be here, and the reporter was willing to leave so that we could have our meeting,” she said.
“I am flabbergasted that Peter Roskam and his staff would turn us away,” the constituent said. “They didn’t have the courtesy to listen to us. We are a peaceful group.”