Space declined to address media
By ADAM TAYLOR
KnoxPages Managing Editor
GAMBIER – Rep. Zack Space sent word through a sheriff’s deputy at a fundraiser he attended Wednesday night that he would address citizens’ concerns but not in the presence of news media outlets.
Less than a dozen constituents from Space’s 18th District traveled from as far away as Muskingum
|A group of constituents stood at the end of a driveway, hoping to meet with U.S. Rep. Zack Space at a private fundraiser Wednesday evening. (Photo by Emery Bennett)|
County, hoping to catch the congressman as he left the home of Linda and Peter Michaels on New Gambier Road.
Space had been the featured guest at a campaign fundraiser for the Knox County Democratic Women’s Club, a private event where a Knox County Sheriff’s Deputy stood guard at the end of the driveway to keep out uninvited guests.
A group gathered along the roadside with a Fox News cameraman and reporters who were hoping for an opportunity to meet with Space.
Just after the event, at least two attendees hurled insults as they exited Michaels’ driveway, one an attorney and former village councilman from Gambier who gave a middle finger to those standing by. Others stopped to hold conversations or left politely.
Bob Denny, an advertising sales representative from Baltimore, traveled from a gathering at Space’s Zanesville office with a group of friends. He said he’s troubled that Space has refused to hold a town-hall style meeting with constituents.
“People want to talk to him face to face. They want to read his body language, look him in the eye and they want to see truth,” said Denny. “There are 535 people in Washington controlling 300 million plus and they’re not listening to the majority.”
On the other side was Ada Jacobs, whose husband knew Space from his days as a student at Kenyon College. She attended the fundraiser and said Space had made the decision to meet with smaller groups because he felt they’d be more effective than town hall meetings.
“This was announced to many people, and they had the opportunity to come,” she said.
However, Linda Michaels told radio station WMVO in a telephone call on Monday that event was private, despite an invitation on a public portion the Knox County Democratic Party’s website.
Jacobs said Space answered a myriad of questions on current health care reform proposals, but declined to speak about portions of the bill he was unfamiliar with, like nonprofit co-ops.
“He didn’t play games,” she said. “He said he needed to do some more research.”
Others, like Coach Dave Daubenmire, weren’t happy to learn that Space wouldn’t meet in the presence of reporters. The well-known religious commentator and demonstrator said he was turned away at the door earlier in the evening, but was told by a sheriff’s deputy that he could come back to meet with the congressman.
“I’d like to have a conversation with Zack Space out here for all the world to see – not go back and hide in some room and let him come out and tell a different story…” he said. “I’ve called his office four times and he would not return my call.”
Space has been under increasing pressure recently following his vote against an amendment prohibiting illegal aliens from receiving health benefits. Space introduced his own amendment a short time later which he said was binding, but critics say it lacks language that would require proof of citizenship.
Calls to Space’s Zanesville office have gone unanswered.