Demonstrators keep the heat on Perdue to hold town halls

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A group of demonstrators demanding U.S. Sen. David Perdue hold a traditional town hall meeting protest on Clairmont Road near the Atlanta Marriott Century Center where Perdue was delivering a keynote speech during the Brookhaven and DeKalb Chamber of Commerce business luncheon on Tuesday, April 11, 2017. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

For 12 straight weeks, dozens of protesters have gathered outside U.S. Sen. David Perdue’s downtown Atlanta office to demand that he hold an in-person town hall meeting. This week, however, they decamped to a grassy strip outside a Brookhaven hotel where he was speaking to make a more personal appeal.

The crowd of more than 50, frustrated by Donald Trump’s young presidency and attempts to overhaul health policy, was part of an ongoing wave of civic activism targeted at Perdue and other Republicans as they returned home for a two-week recess after another tumultuous stretch in Congress.

“We need to hold our elected officials accountable, and this is his job,” Ellen Williams, one of the protesters, said outside Perdue’s event. “This is his job, and he can’t be afraid to meet with his constituents. If you don’t want to work with us, then you’ve got the wrong boss in mind.”

Perdue is far from the only Republican under fire from restless Trump critics. Demonstrations at other events across the state were aimed at embarrassing other GOP members of Congress. But as perhaps Georgia’s most influential politician — and its most outspoken high-profile supporter of Trump — Perdue is squarely at the center of the tide of protests.

And he’s largely taken the criticism in stride, saying he held “impromptu” town hall meetings during the last recess while making an unannounced visit to the state Capitol. And, he added, he and his deputies often meet with constituents in Washington and in Georgia to hear their concerns.

“Right now, it’s a question of method more than anything,” Perdue said. “I’m quite happy that we’re getting the input I need to have.”

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