This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
In advance of Rep. Jason Chaffetz's town hall meeting Thursday night, the Salt Lake County Republican Party urged "the REAL majority of Utah voters" to attend after organizers switched the venue to accommodate an anticipated large showing from liberal resistance groups.
The meeting, set to start at 7 p.m., will be held in an auditorium at Brighton High School, 2220 E. Bengal Blvd., in Cottonwood Heights. It was previously slated for City Hall across the street, but the expected attendance with more than 1,200 people RSVP'd on a Facebook page for the event and nearly 3,000 more "interested" in going exceeded the space's capacity.
Several groups, including the Wasatch Socialist Party, have planned protests to start at 5 p.m. and continue outside during Chaffetz's address. Democrats and several resistance movements formed in the wake of President Donald Trump's election, including Utah Indivisible, plan to pack the town hall meeting.
"This is your chance to have your voice heard by one of our congressional representatives," read an email from the Utah Democratic Party.
Comments made on Facebook suggest opponents will question the Republican congressman's stance on repealing the Affordable Care Act, his refusal to have the House Oversight Committee that he oversees investigate Trump's potential conflicts of interest or Russian influence on the election, and his push to transfer or sell public lands.
A document created and shared online by Utah Indivisible as guidance for attendees advises: "Ask pointed, leading questions that force Chaffetz to commit to a position or action. We want him to tie himself into knots while the eyes of the nation are on him; Do not yield the mic until your question has been answered; Applaud when you agree with a question; It's important to make Chaffetz synonymous with Trump."
The resistance has adopted in recent weeks a few tea-party tactics to get its message across, including petitions for town hall gatherings and "phone blitz" campaigns to reach congressional offices.
The Salt Lake Country Republican Party is working to marshal support for Chaffetz. In an email Tuesday night, the group suggests that "some of our fellow citizens do not share our excitement."
"While we welcome folks who disagree with us and want to express that disagreement in a civil manner," reads a copy obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune, "there are those who wish to completely shut down the democratic process by depriving others of their right to be heard. We know that such individuals do NOT represent the majority of voters in Utah's 3rd Congressional District."
The message then calls for the "real MAJORITY of Utah voters" to attend the town hall and rally for the representative.
The congressman's office did not respond to request for comment on the Salt Lake Country GOP's email, but M.J. Henshaw, a spokeswoman for Chaffetz, said he's "looking forward to a healthy discussion with constituents."
Many residents have been frustrated in recent weeks after calling Chaffetz's office and reaching a full voicemail box. The town hall meeting Thursday, they hope, will be a chance to get a direct response to their questions.