- Associated Press - Friday, February 17, 2017

LAS VEGAS (AP) - The Latest on health care advocates urging U.S. Sen. Dean Heller to host a town hall (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Dean Heller says the Nevada Republican believes his weekly town hall meetings conducted by telephone are a “very successful method” of communicating with his constituents.

Heller spokesman Neal Patel made the comments Friday after a group of health care advocates gathered outside a Las Vegas hotel-casino to urge Heller to host a town hall in person next week to hear concerns about Republican plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Patel says the senator can reach 5,000 constituents during each weekly telephone town hall. He says Heller “does not plan to change” the format.

Heller has been under pressure recently from a number of groups. Earlier this month, activists planned a vigil outside his Las Vegas office in effort that organizers said was meant to show his embrace of a far-right agenda won’t get him re-elected next year.

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12:49 p.m.

Health care advocates in Nevada are urging U.S. Sen. Dean Heller to host a town hall to hear from his constituents during the weeklong President’s Day recess.

The advocates protested Friday outside a Las Vegas hotel and casino where they say the Republican senator was expected to participate in a fundraiser.

Maggie Salas Crespo is a spokeswoman for the Nevada chapter of the national Alliance for Healthcare Security. She says Heller has declined an invitation to attend a gathering scheduled for Wednesday in Reno to hear concerns over Republican plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Heller’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Republicans elsewhere have encountered angry constituents at town halls, particularly over the potential repeal of former President Barack Obama’s health care law.


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