So far, constituents in Florida have failed to get a one-on-one with Sen. Marco Rubio. But as they continue to pressure him to attend citizen-initiated town hall meetings, they’ve at least succeeded in disrupting his day-to-day operations in Tampa. Since December, Rubio has rented an office at the Bridgeport Center on a month-to-month basis. However, at the beginning of February his team learned that the owner of the nine-story building wouldn’t renew the lease because of the constant protests taking place outside. “A professional office building is not a place for that,” Jude Williams, president of America’s Capital Partners, told the Tampa Bay Times. “I understand their cause, but at the end of the day it was a security concern for us.”
Some of the people who have gathered at Bridgeport Center express their opposition to President Donald Trump. As many as 150 people have shown up to the offices at once, waving signs and shouting about the issues that most concern them, such as health care. And while they’re trying to get Rubio to act, they’re also disrupting others who work in the building. Williams received many complaints about the demonstrators, who made it difficult to enter the building. He said terminating the contract wasn’t politically motivated.
Across the United States, groups have used the suggestions outlined in the Indivisible Guide – a document available online in both English and Spanish – as a way to resist Trump. “Donald Trump is the biggest popular-vote loser in history to ever call himself President,” the guide reads. “In spite of the fact that he has no mandate, he will attempt to use his congressional majority to reshape America in his own racist, authoritarian, and corrupt image. If progressives are going to stop this, we must stand indivisibly opposed to Trump and the Members of Congress (MoCs) who would do his bidding.”
Indivisible Guide notes that making politicians listen through town halls, public events, district office visits, and coordinated calls are “four local advocacy tactics that actually work.” Rubio chalks up these efforts as activists merely checking off items from a check list. Instead, he should see the very valid concerns of his constituents who feel upset and frustrated. He previously said the demonstrations at his Tampa offices – where he has two employees – were “nothing more than a strategy outlined in an online activist manual to carry our ‘mass office calling.’ Their goal is to floor offices with calls and emails and then go to the press and claim they aren’t getting a response.”
And while his team may be fielding these calls and have been polite throughout the process, he’s yet to meet with his constituents. Last week, he admitted that he doesn’t like them because people get “rude and stupid on both sides.” As Rubio continues to evade his constituents, his Tampa office employees have to be packed up and gone from Bridgeport Center by Friday, and they currently do not have a new office lined up.
“We are actively looking for new office space, and our goal is to remain accessible and continue providing prompt and efficient service to all Floridians,” Rubio spokeswoman Christina Mandreucci said. “Until we find a permanent new home in the Tampa Bay area, we will have a representative from our Tampa Bay office available to assist constituents on a daily basis and reachable at 1-866-630-7106.”