PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s become a weekly ritual for many area residents: A lunchtime demonstration outside Senator Pat Toomey’s Philadelphia office every Tuesday.
The gatherings have grown in size over the last three months.
About 500 people jammed the sidewalk and spilled into traffic lanes on JFK Boulevard, calling on Senator Toomey to meet with them and hear their concerns.
“We have to keep it up until we upset him enough so that he acts as if we are his boss,” said one protester.
These weekly “Tuesday with Toomey” protests began one week after the presidential election, when half a dozen people showed up in response to a Facebook post by Alexandra Gunnison.
Gunnison says crowds have grown steadily, but she has yet to encounter Toomey.
“Where is he? I think he hides a lot more effectively than other senators might,” she said.
That only seems to energize participants, like Mary Olive Reinhart.
“It’s very satisfying to be able to assemble with like-minded people, and to chant and hold up my sign and exercise my First Amendment rights,” she said.
The office is moving in two weeks to a federal building in Old City. Organizers are unsure what will happen to the protests, but intend to try to continue.
A spokesman for Senator Toomey says the Senator has held 14 town halls over the last six years, but mostly in the summer months, and has held 50 telephone town halls to hear concerns from constituents.