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Stealing the Tea Party playbook: Progressives put Republicans on the hot seat

At an office park in the southwest valley, Jack Finn, Dean Heller's Southern Nevada director is not exactly walking into a lion’s den; but he’s not facing friends either.

“We really do deserve to have some answers and some face time with Mr. Heller. That's all we're asking for", said a protest organizer.

Finn had walked out of the senator’s office to join about 100 protestors on a street just down the block.

“As I've told you before when you've been here, your comments are passed on to him. All of your concerns are noted. They're taken down and they're forwarded to him directly including the request for a town hall,” Finn told the crowd. “We don’t currently have one scheduled, but the request has been put forward and I will do so again.”

Today’s protest was organized by the left-leaning group Moveon.org, which held similar events around the nation.

Many of the protestors went there on Tuesday to urge Heller to reject President Trump’s nominee to head the Department of Labor. A vote could come later this week.

As it settles into four or more years of Trump, progressives are organizing.

Meanwhile, around the country, Republican congressmen are getting an earful, just as democratic congressmen did back in 2009, when the Obama Administration was crafting Obamacare.

Democratic town halls were overwhelmed with angry conservatives, worried about what would happen to their health care. The anger that summer gave rise to the Tea Party, enabling Republicans to recapture congress in 2010.

The same scene is being repeated eight years later, and this time it’s the GOP on the hot seat. Conservatives are suspicious.

“I think a lot of these people don't live in the district. I think a lot of these people are professional disturbers,” says Heidi Harris, the conservative talk show host who holds court mornings on KXNT 840 AM.

Richard Monk came out Tuesday, upset at Heller's support for the Trump cabinet.

“He's voting for people that have literally no background in the positions that he's voting them into,” Monk told me.

"Where are you from?" I asked.

“Las Vegas,” Monk replied.

Heller's office says the senator is listening.

"He's conducted weekly town halls by telephone where he can reach 5,000 constituents per meeting. This setup has allowed the senator to hear directly from constituents. Constituents are able to take their questions directly to the senator without a screening process." says Heller Communications Director Neal Patel in a statement to News 3.

Heller's in a tough spot. He never liked Trump.

“So everything Trump does, he gets blamed for, even though he didn't like the guy to begin with", says Harris.

Out front of the Heller office, I meet Elaine Wing, who voted for Trump.

Why is she here?

“Because I don't like any of the cabinet that Trump has picked out,” she says.

In the meantime, a force may be brewing, that could keep senators and their staff busy.

RELATED | UNLV, UMC also will feel hit if Affordable Care Act repealed

RELATED | Peaceful vigil at Senator Heller's office for lawmaker accountability





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