Where are our Congressmen?
We’ve written, rallied, called, put up missing posters, and we still haven’t received a response to our request for a town hall.
Our representative’s are great at sneaking in to town for fundraisers – raising some cash from their base, and then disappearing back to Washington, D.C. to vote on legislation without hearing how these bills will impact you – their constituents, and the people who can vote them back in or our of office.
In February, Raul Labrador told The Idaho Statesman “I never do town halls right after an election. You wait for there to be a little more information that you can share with your constituents,” Labradror said. “I just get to decide when I do town halls, not the media or anybody else.”
But here’s the problem – town hall events aren’t about the “information that you can share with your constituents.” They are about listening to your constituents – and having an open dialogue with the people you represent.
Senator Crapo last held 200 town hall events between 2015-2016 – when he was up for re-election. He was reelected, and now he’s been sent to Washington, D.C. to work on behalf of the people of Idaho, but how can he do that if he doesn’t listen to them?
Representative Simpson last held a town hall in 2004. He thinks tele-town halls are preferable, but why does he get to make that decision? A member of Congress, our representatives are public servants, and they need to be accessible to the public so that they can fight for and work for all of the citizens in Idaho, not just their donors and not just when they are up for election.
Senator Risch has held 20 tele-town halls in August of 2016 and now his staff locks the doors of his offices here in Idaho.
We know that our members of Congress want to avoid scenes like this, and we do, too! But we also know that our community here in the Gem State can disagree with someone and still be respectful.
It’s time to turn up the pressure
We need your help. It’s clear that the pressure on our representatives simply has not been high enough for them to view a town hall as a necessary evil yet. In the world of politics, every option is a zero-sum game and they still believe it is better for their self-interest to avoid a town. We have to change the equation.
Here at Indivisible Idaho, we are fundraising for a half-page ad in The Idaho Statesman to show how inaccessible our members of Congress have been. The next recess is April 10-14, 2017 and we are almost out of time. As a non-profit, the cost of a half-page ad is 1,650, but we still have a way to go. It’s time that our representatives see we are serious about meeting with them. If you can contribute $5 and help us show once and for all that we will not be ignored anymore, then we will be one step closer in making Congress accessible again.