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Groups: Cantor Can't Stand the Heat

October 24, 2011

RICHMOND, Va. - Congressman Eric Cantor can't stand the heat. So say some Virginians who made the trek to Philadelphia on Friday to "greet" the U.S. House Majority Leader. He was scheduled to speak at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, but he cancelled late Friday afternoon just before his scheduled appearance, amid reports that up to a thousand protesters would also be in attendance.

Dee Jacobson with the group Virginia Organizing was one of them. She lives in Virginia's 7th District, which Cantor represents, and says she's found the congressman to be very inaccessible, noting that she drove 300 miles to see him.

"Because I really wanted him to hear how hard some of us are having it in Orange County acquiring jobs. All five times when I got to his office neither he or any of his staff were there."

Representative Cantor was to speak about income inequality, something the unemployed Jacobson says she knows a little something about, but she says the Congressman never holds public meetings in his district, and she feels he's catering to lobbyists and the very wealthy and is out of touch with "everyday folks."

"Being accessible, being available, creating open forums where we have an opportunity. Like, we don't even know if he knows how hard people's lives are in Orange County right now."

Cantor's office explained the cancellation by saying they were unaware of the open attendance policy at the school, meaning the university would allow seats to be filled by the general public as well as by students. A representative of the school said in a statement that Wharton's speaker series "is typically open to the general public, and that is how the event with Majority Leader Cantor was billed."

Several groups gathered at the school including Keystone Progress, "Occupy Philly," and Virginia Organizing. They continued their protest with speeches, despite the absence of the Congressman.

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - VA