Indivisible Iowa

Amy Adams of Cedar Rapids presents petitions signed by more than 700 Iowa 1st District voters to Michael Keefer, a staffer in U.S. Rep. Rod Blum’s Cedar Rapids office, on Monday. Adams’ daughter, Ava, is on her lap.

James Q. Lynch, The Gazette

CEDAR RAPIDS — Can we talk?

That’s what a group is asking U.S. Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa, as it delivered petitions signed by more than 700 northeast Iowa voters to the congressman’s office Monday.

They’re concerned the Dubuque Republican is not providing equal access to them and other U.S. House 1st District voters who might not agree with him, according to Amy Adams, a Cedar Rapids teacher and member of the Indivisible Iowa advocacy organization.

Adams and about 10 others delivered the petitions to Blum’s Cedar Rapids office in an effort to get Blum to schedule office hours while he’s back in the district during the August congressional work session.

The petitions asks Blum to hold published office hours during the recess so voters can discuss issues with him.

“We’ve followed the requests we’ve been given, we’ve done the online questionnaire, filling in the blanks for dates and times to meet with him, we’ve written letters to him,” Adams told Blum staffer Michael Keefer, who accepted the petitions.

However, Blum has met with other groups, such as a gun rights group, she said.

“We feel he is sort of picking and choosing the people he wants to see, and it seems to be people who are Republican, people who are his donors, people who are a friendly audience — not that we aren’t friendly,” Adams said. “We feel average Joes like us don’t have equal access.”

Keefer explained that the gun rights event was not a public event because it wasn’t Blum’s. He was a guest of the sponsoring groups.

Members of the Indivisible network have been in communication with Blum for months, but only through staff members or written communications.

“We would like some feedback from Congressman Blum,” Cindy Garlock said. “It’s so one direction now. We would like some feedback about these issues.”

Keefer committed to passing the petitions on to Blum.

“I’ll let him know,” he said. “I will make sure that he gets it in the next few days. Sometime this week, he’ll have them in his hands.”

He also said he would relay information that four potential Democratic challengers have agreed to meet with Indivisible at their weekly coffee shop meetings.

Indivisible Iowa describes itself as a nonpartisan group that is “committed to resisting the Republican congressional and executive agenda” and among its goals is to “take back our state in 2018.”