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U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks says he wasn’t trying to avoid Democrats at Tea Party meeting

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala -- U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks said Friday there was no effort to dodge constituents Thursday night at a Huntsville Tea Party meeting.

Brooks, R-Huntsville, said today there was a miscommunication between the event organizers and his office.

He said he thought he was going to speak at a “Washington update,” which he said he does frequently. The events are private, held on private property.

“Well, there’s no confusion in our office,” Brooks said. “I was told I was going to be there for a private event at a private location, and that was a Washington update."

But, the Huntsville Tea Party had billed it as a “Town Hall” event, and made tickets available.

Some local Democrats were among those who obtained tickets for the Thursday event at the “The Place” off Pulaski Pike in Huntsville.

Brooks said a “town hall” is considerably different than a “Washington update.” A town hall, is open to the public, typically in a public space, it requires security and procedures that ensure people can speak without fear of disruption.

Brooks said when he became aware that the event was billed as a town hall, he and the event organizers decided to postpone it and would reschedule for later date.

The Huntsville Tea Party announced it was postponed Tuesday evening.

A Tea Party spokesman said Wednesday that because so little of President Trump’s legislative agenda hasn’t been unveiled yet, it was premature for Brooks to come and give an update on what’s happening in Congress.

Another speaker was found and the Tea Party had a meeting.

Brooks said his Huntsville staff didn’t know it, but he decided to swing by the meeting before it ended to explain why it was too early for an update on Washington.

Local Democrats said they heard Brooks was at the meeting after all, and a handful showed up.

Deborah Barros-Smith made a Facebook video of the meeting, which ended shortly after she and other Democrats arrived.

Barros-Smith said they went to the meeting to ask Brooks about the travel ban, Social Security and other issues. She said they were frustrated that the meeting ended abruptly and believe that Brooks was trying to avoid them.

“We just wanted to ask him a few questions,” Barros-Smith said. “That’s why I’m upset, he’s my congressman and I don’t have access to him.”

Brooks denied those claims Friday, saying he’s widely available, has regular meetings with constituents and told group members last night, he’d meet with them.

Brooks expressed concern that some Democrats around the country have acted more like “anarchists.” He said those people want disruption, not discussion.

“Fortunately, in my opinion the vast majority of people who are in the Democratic party ranks, they’re still civil they want to have the kind of dialogue that is necessary for me to better understand them and for them to better understand me,” Brooks said.

“I welcome that vast majority.”