Community members concerned about infrastructure and a host of other issued ventured to the GoggleWorks in Reading for a town hall meeting with U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, a first-term Democrat who represents the city.
"Pennsylvanians need infrastructure, investment," said Gary Wegman of Exeter Township, who has twice run as a Democrat for a seat in Congress. "This is all about good jobs, construction, engineering."
But the conversation shifted to security and was relegated to the parking lot, as signs read "Due to security concerns, the town hall meeting has been canceled."
Due to a potential security risk, we unfortunately have to cancel our town hall this evening. We will be rescheduling. Thank you all for understanding.
-- Chrissy Houlahan (@RepHoulahan) August 15, 2019 "I just found out that there was a security problem, and they had whisked her away, and that's pretty sad," said Nancy Omahaboy of Mt. Penn.
The sign sparked feelings of disappointment among constituents and a state senator who wanted to be part of the conversation.
"Apparently, there was some type of security concern," said state Sen. Judy Schwank, a Berks County Democrat. "I don't know specifically what it was. I know that the congresswoman had every intention of meeting with constituents and talking with them."
The announcement came on the heels of mass shootings in Ohio and Texas, in addition to a violent police standoff in north Philadelphia on Wednesday.
"Just a sad state of the current situation in America," Wegman commented.
"To have somebody put their foot on democracy, because that's exactly what this is tonight, and democracy is why we're all here," Omahaboy said.
Many said they expect a town hall will take place in Reading at some point.
"I just know that Congresswoman Houlahan will likely reschedule," Schwank said. "She is often in the community. These types of communal gatherings are good for everybody."
In addition to Reading, Houlahan also represents some of the city's southeastern suburbs and all of Chester County.