Over 200 Republicans who are out on vacation this coming week refuse to schedule public town hall meetings with constituents. Alabama has 6 GOP Representatives, but (so far) only Rep. Gary Palmer is willing to listen to voters in a public forum.
What’s up with the other Congressional chickens?
AL-01 Congressman Bradley Byrne: In February 2016, Rep. Byrne scheduled ten public “Listening to You” sessions. One for each county in his district. He held other meetings later in the year. Byrne’s government Web site brags about the number of town meetings he has held in the past. But the fun ended on Nov. 1, 2016. That’s the last one listed, and no more are scheduled. Contact him to ask why.
AL-02 Congresswoman Martha Roby: If you believe her official Web site, Martha hasn’t “listened” to constituents since September 25, 2013. Enterprise was the final stop on her “Martha Listens” tour. Her official Facebook page is equally devoid of current events, with the last listing for 2015 – “Coffee and Conversation with Rep. Trey Gowdy.”
AL-03 Congressman Mike Rogers has a mysterious “town hall subscribe” link on his site, but when you fill out the form, the confirmation merely says “thank you for subscribing to my newsletter.” Bait and switch much, Congressman? There are also no “events” listed on his Facebook page.
AL-05 Congressman Mo Brooks’ absence is understandable, considering that he thinks his constituents are trying to kill him, as evidenced by this rowdy bunch who showed up to ask questions about health care and Social Security. The transcript of the “friendly” question and answer session is pretty terrifying. His office spent the past two weeks collecting names and phone numbers of constituents who wanted to be included in his stage-managed “telephone town hall” session held February 16. Surprise! They didn’t get invited to that either. Contact his office to ask why.
We in AL-05 are worried about Mo’s mental state and want everyone to keep an eye out for the poor dear. This downloadable “MISSING” poster should help get the word out. Print and share everywhere you see a public bulletin board.
AL-06 Congressman Gary Palmer wins the prize! He’s actually venturing out of his DC, echo chamber bubble (though probably not too far) and meeting with constituents on Saturday, February 25th at 9am at the Hoover City Hall. It’s a public town hall meeting in a public forum. Note that the original location was a shooting range, but maybe he’s been talking to Mo Brooks. Seating is limited campers – get there early and sit near a microphone.
Every one of these people will tell you that they are happy to schedule a “private meeting” with you. Here’s why that’s a cop-out and way to avoid taking hard questions and public stances on important issues.
Alabama’s lone Democratic representative, Terri Sewell (AL-07) held an in-person health care event in Tuscaloosa on Feb. 4 and a tele-roundtable on health care issues on Feb. 17th . We’d like to see more of her this week too, but she has a far better track record of openness and accessibility than any of her other Alabama colleagues.