I want to discuss a brief, concise and pithy message that popped into my Twitter feed this morning.
It comes from my state senator, Kel Seliger, an Amarillo Republican. It says: “Town Hall meetings are a great way to report to and interact with the public we serve. I’ve had 374. At least 37 planned for Q3 2017.”
Bear with me as I parse this statement for just a moment.
Town hall meetings have become something of a story in the past few days as members of Congress have taken their post-Presidents Day break, returned home — in many instances — to meet with their bosses.
They’ve discovered that the folks back home are none too happy with them. They don’t want their “employees,” those members of Congress, to mess with the Affordable Care Act.
Some members of Congress — such as Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon — have decided to skip the town hall meetings altogether.
Thornberry is meeting instead with local business leaders, trying to assess the impact of federal regulations on their businesses. One of those leaders told me this week the discussion dealt with the difficulty of the rules handed down by the Obama administration and that Thornberry has given them assurances that he would work to loosen government’s regulatory reins.
Thornberry’s Amarillo meeting was a friendly event. I know … it’s shocking, shocking.
It’s fair to wonder if state Sen. Seliger would believe so strongly in the value of town hall meetings if he were forced to face down the beast that’s been awakened by the Republican-controlled Congress’s desire to repeal something that folks need.
Yes, Kel, these events “are a great to way interact with the people we serve,” which brings me to another critical point.
These government officials do work for us, you and me. Whether we cast our votes for them or for someone else, they answer to us. We pay their salaries, provide them with their staff, pay for their public transportation, their stationery, their telecommunications devices; I almost wrote “typewriters,” then remembered that we don’t use typewriters any longer.
To that end, it is important to remind these individuals of that indisputable, irrefutable fact. The crowds at these town meetings across the land — in “red” and “blue” congressional districts alike — are doing that very thing. Good for them!