Current Weather
The Spy FM

Most U.S. House Members Not Doing Town Hall Meetings

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
August 24, 2011

If your member of Congress is holding town-hall meetings during their summer recess to discuss the great issues of the day with you and their other constituents, he or she is in the minority.

The non-partisan group No Labels, created as a refuge for voters favoring pragmatic, less ideological solutions to the nation’s problems, surveyed U.S. House members and found that 60 percent weren’t holding town hall meetings this summer.

Republicans were holding more such constituent meetings than Democrats, according to No Label. About two-thirds of Democrats and half of Republicans weren’t doing town hall gatherings, the group said.

The group’s blog reports:

It’s a sad sign of the state of affairs when our elected officials don’t have time to meet with their constituents.

The survey doesn’t provide any sense of whether this year’s percentage is significantly lower than past years though news articles that used the No Label report as a springboard suggest that to be the case.

Town hall meetings got much attention in the summer of 2009 when Tea Party activists and other dissatisfied voters turned up at them to often shout down Democratic lawmakers.

Gail Russell Chaddock of the Christian Science Monitor reports that instead of holding such meetings, lawmakers are using job fairs to meet their constituents. She reports:

The political advantages are two-fold: The events cast members as doing something about the nation’s jobs crisis while at the same time shielding them from public confrontations with angry voters. It means town-hall meetings – once a staple of the congressional summer season – are now in decline thanks to the testy summer of 2009, when health-care protests helped launch the tea party movement and provided endless grist for opposition campaign ads.

Bill Lambrecht at stltoday.com which covers St. Louis notes that some lawmakers are using factory visits and telephone teleconferences, both which are easier to manage than town halls, as ways to reach out to constituents:

House members in the St. Louis region as well as Missouri’s senators are among those opting for events that bring them in contact with voters in a more controlled fashion than town hall meetings.

[Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

9AM to 10AM The Takeaway

The Takeaway

A fresh alternative in morning news, "The Takeaway" provides a breadth and depth of world, national and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.

Listen Live Now!

10AM to 11PM On Point

On Point

On Point unites distinct and provocative voices with passionate discussion as it confronts the stories that are at the center of what is important in the world today. Leaving no perspective unchallenged, On Point digs past the surface and into the core of a subject, exposing each of its real world implications.

View the program guide!

11AM to 12PM The Story

The Story

The Story with Dick Gordon brings the news home through first-person accounts. The live weekday program is passionate, personal, immediate and relevant to listeners, focusing on the news where it changes our lives, causes us to stop and rethink, inspires us.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center