Dozens of protesters demonstrate outside Rep. Ken Calvert's fundraiser at Riverside hotel

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Protesters held a demonstration outside the Mission Inn Hotel and Spa, where Rep. Ken Calvert held a fundraiser luncheon on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. (KABC)

Dozens of protesters on Wednesday gathered outside a Riverside hotel where Republican Rep. Ken Calvert attended a fundraiser luncheon.

The demonstration occurred as congressional representatives home on recess have been greeted by protests across the U.S. Constituents are calling on GOP lawmakers to hold town hall meetings so their voices can be heard.

In front of the Mission Inn Hotel and Spa, more than 60 people held signs and chanted for about 90 minutes. Although they positioned themselves near several of the venue's exits, they were unable to confront Calvert, who represents California's 42nd District.

"He's hosting a $250-a-plate fundraiser," said Moreno Valley resident Karen Sprinkle.

"It must be nice to be wealthy enough to get an audience!" another woman shouted as attendees of the campaign fundraiser arrived at the hotel.

Critics say Calvert has not held a town hall meeting in more than eight years. A spokesperson for the congressman disagrees, saying Calvert has participated in town hall meetings, including one in Menifee on Jan. 28, 2016.

"He's not our representative," said Spencer Freeman of Canyon Lake, who participated in the demonstration. "If he's not talking to us, his constituents, he's not representing us."

Asked what message she would like to convey to Calvert, Sprinkle replied: "Please meet with us. Please meet with us."

Jason Gagnon, the congressman's communications director released a statement regarding Calvert's schedule.

"This week, Congressman Calvert is busy holding meetings in every city in his congressional district discussing the many important issues facing our country," the statement read. "He looks forward to holding additional constructive meetings in the future. Congressman Calvert's staff has met with a number of those attending today's protest on numerous occasions to list their concerns."

Protesters said they were unable to speak with Calvert when he exited the hotel through a north-side door and was whisked away in a waiting vehicle.

Gagnon declined to confirm the cost of admission to the fundraiser but said the congressman "appreciated the strong showing of support."
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politicsprotestcongressrepublicanshouse of representativesfundraiserRiversideRiverside County
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