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Sen. Johnson declines invite to town hall in Green Bay

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Hundreds of people showed up to the Brown County Central Library Thursday evening hoping to talk to Republican Senator Ron Johnson, but like a similar town hall event held the night before in Madison, Johnson declined the invitation.

A group of local Democrats organized the town hall event.

Knowing this was a district work week for senators, organizers extended an invitation to Johnson's office, but never heard anything back.

“We're not interested in a shouting match,” said Sumner Truax, an organizer and member of the Outagamie County Democratic Party. “We're not interested in a Republican take down. I don't even know if everyone is Democrat.”

FOX 11 asked around and couldn't locate a single Republican or Johnson supporter in the town hall crowd.

Organizers and attendees weren't surprised Johnson didn't show. Most admitted they understand possible reluctance based on other recent Republican town halls across the country being disrupted by protesters. However, the people here say those events shouldn't excuse Johnson.

“I think it is his duty,” said Debora Otteson of Appleton. “We are his constituents even if we don't agree with him, he still needs to talk to us.”

Johnson did accept an invitation this past weekend to speak with a group who largely didn't agree with him. The Republican talked for about an hour with members of a mosque near Eau Claire.

Last week, Johnson also held a telephone town hall that his staff says more than 7,000 people participated in.

FOX 11’s request to talk on the phone with Johnson about the Green Bay town hall was declined.

Wisconsin's other senator, Democrat Tammy Baldwin, did not hold any town hall events this week.

“I've tried contacting her,” said Kathi Van Berkum of Appleton. “I've sent her several emails as well and I've gotten responses from her, but no town halls. I think she should.”

Baldwin was not invited to this event, however, her regional representative did speak briefly.

A panel of speakers, all critical of Johnson, also addressed the audience and took questions

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