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Top Stories 2017: Zeldin faces abundance of protest in 2017

In January, about 60 East Enders gathered to protest at Congressman Lee Zeldin’s Riverhead office, saying the congressman would not listen to their concerns. 

Issues they raised ranged from plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act to marriage equality and immigration. Some people worried that the new administration would leave them without immigrants to work in their businesses.

The first protests occurred just after Donald Trump, whom Mr. Zeldin endorsed and supported during the campaign, was elected president.

Then, in February, more protesters joined together outside Mr. Zeldin’s office in downtown Riverhead after it was announced that he would meet with constituents by appointment only. About 50 people from all five East End towns marched from the courthouse to his office, holding signs asking where Mr. Zeldin was. One of the event organizers, Eileen Duffy of Quogue, wanted him to hold town hall meetings. She also created the Facebook group “Let’s Visit Lee Zeldin.”

Jennifer DiSiena, Mr. Zeldin’s spokeswoman, cited “liberal obstructionists” who caused mass disruptions during public events as part of the reason the congressman did not have a larger presence at forums and events.

Mr. Zeldin did not comment on these protests.

Later in February, he announced that he would hold a telephone town hall, answering 12 questions from constituents while more than 9,000 voters listened in on the hourlong discussion. One of the most popular topics in the questions was health care, according to a survey.

But constituents were still calling for an in-person town hall meeting, even though Mr. Zeldin held mobile office hours in East Patchogue shortly after the phone session.