Politics & Government

‘We pay for it, we should have access to it,’ but police close Nunes office during rally

Clovis police were called and the building housing Congressman Devin Nunes’ office was locked during a rally for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security on Tuesday.

For more than a year, people have been gathering outside Nunes’ constituent services office every Tuesday, demanding an appearance from the Republican congressman, who is the chair of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee. The regular protesters say that the office is unstaffed.

On Tuesday, front office staff at the Sentinel Executive Offices called Clovis police on the protesters and kicked members of the media and the public out of the building and locked the door.

Democrat Andrew Janz, who is competing for Nunes’ congressional seat, said a building employee (who asked not to be named) would not allow him to go upstairs to Nunes’ office.

“I told her that Nunes ’office is paid for by taxpayers and is public property,” Janz said. “We pay for this office, but if we’re not even given the opportunity to go to the office to make an appointment, and are prohibited from making our way up to his office, I think that’s definitely an issue.”

Clovis Police Cpl. Max Garces said office staff have called 911 before about the rally but that it’s a gray area because Nunes’ office is next to private business offices in the same building.

“Our issue is not a political issue; we’re just trying to solve some issues here with people coming in here,” Garces said. “This isn’t a public building, even though he’s a public servant.”

People like Gene Roza, with the California Alliance for Retired Americans, said the solution is simple: Nunes should communicate with his constituents: “Nunes is a puppet for Trump. Our goal is to get people that are going to represent the greater majority, that actually talk to us. We pay for it (his office), we should have access to it.”

Rose Matteson, who works for Clovis Town and Country Real Estate in the same building, was outraged by the protesters, and said Nunes doesn’t have to deal with the disruption that nearby businesses do.

“I’ve been there for 20 years, and I’ve never seen the man,” she said. “It’s just a satellite office. Somebody comes and picks up his mail. He isn’t here.”

Nunes’ office did not respond to requests for comment.

Mackenzie Mays: 559-441-6412, @mackenziemays
Related stories from Sacramento Bee