Representatives Brad Klippert (R) and Larry Haler (R) are planning a town hall for Saturday, March 11, but protesters are ready to confront them.
The 8th legislative district Republican representatives will be at the Arc of Tri-Cities at 1455 Fowler in Richland from 10 a.m. to noon. They are taking a break in the middle of the legislative session to meet with their constituents and talk about bills they've been working on.
Rep. Haler is sponsoring a bill dealing with sick Hanford workers.
"I would hope we would have input from various Tri-Citians who are concerned about the health and welfare of our workers out at the Hanford site, especially those that work in the tank farms," said Haler.
Haler said he and Klippert are also working on bills that would give resources to students who want to see reduced cost of higher education.
Klippert and Haler have both sponsored controversial trangender bathroom bills. Dozens are planning to come to the town hall to stand up for transgender rights. Haler said he is open to a conversation and can do some course correction after hearing from his constituents.
"I'm here to serve the people and I know Rep. Klippert also is here to serve the people. We want to hear people's input on what they think we've done right and even if they think we've done something wrong. I'm sure people won't agree with a lot of the stuff we've done," said Haler.
"We should be doing what we can to make those folks feel more welcome and not less welcome," said Carl Baker with the Tri-City Democrats.
"Trans people aren't hurting anyone. They're not causing any problems, I don't see why they should be kept out of the bathrooms just because their status is different than other people," said Baker.
He plans to attend a protest being held right before the town hall from 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
"The thing that I would really want to ask right at the moment is what problem is this transgender bathroom bill meant to solve. I have trouble seeing an actual problem that it would address," said Baker.
Baker said by Klippert and Haler supporting anti-transgender bills, they're sending the wrong message to the community and possibly putting transgender people in danger.
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