Murphy wrong to cancel Duquesne appearance

By: Duke Staff

As you can read in The Duke’s news section, Congressman Tim Murphy (R-Allegheny) recently cancelled his planned appearance at Duquesne University, citing security concerns through a spokeswoman for his office. Interestingly, a spokeswoman for Duquesne said the university and its police force were ready and willing to proceed with the event, even if extra security was required. With Duquesne offering the full protection of its trained police force, it’s hard to imagine Murphy’s excuse being anything other than a flimsy attempt to escape his constituents, whom he has not permitted to meet with him during any other public events or community meetings. Murphy indicated that the event at Duquesne is merely being postponed, not cancelled. We at The Duke take Congressman Murphy at his word and encourage him to reschedule as soon as possible.

The security issues cited by Murphy were in reference to unidentified “outside groups” who planned to attend the event, which was billed as an opportunity for Murphy to talk about his Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in August 2016. Instead of facing his constituents, Murphy cancelled the event less than three hours before it was to begin.

One such frustrated person, Angela Wateska of Scott Township, told the Pittsburgh City Paper that she and six other Murphy constituents planned to come to the Duquesne event after their attempts to reach Murphy through his office failed.

“We have been asking him for an actual town hall, and he won’t do that,” Wateska said. “So we thought this was our one chance to ask him some questions.”

It seems as though Murphy, who has held his seat since 2003, does not realize that public service means serving all your constituents, not just those who agree with you. He came to Duquesne to talk about his pet project, the mental health legislation that became law last summer. He must have expected a friendly audience of polite professors and apathetic students, and when faced with a crowd that might actually ask him hard-hitting questions about his opposition to the Affordable Care Act, he bailed.

Representative Murphy, if you’re going to bring up health care, you need to be ready to talk about all your positions on health care — including the controversial ones. And if you avoid calls from your constituents and refuse to set up meetings with them, you can’t be surprised when they try to make themselves heard. Don’t blame the hard-working and perfectly competent Duquesne Police for your inability to face criticism.