Unsure how things are in your state, but in West Virginia, we have had the darndest time scheduling a town hall with our senator. Since the election, an amazing group of concerned citizens in Morgantown, WV have been going to the offices of Senator Shelly Moore Capito every week simply to request a town hall. Not even necessarily a specific date, but a range of dates or an assurance that we would have one. Importantly, they have also been following up with her staffers. (Remember: It may take multiple efforts to make progress. Meetings, calls, emails!) And even though the Senators are going into recess soon, enabling her to visit with constituents… No town hall.
So, today, we stepped it up and went to mobile office hours.
Our friend, Hampton Coakley, holds mobile office hours in WV; these are a time to listen to constituents concerns and provide information (well, try anyway). Here’s a brief intro. (Yes, I know I close my eyes all the time and I have no clue why.)
reporting that Republicans have encountered large (and non-violent) crowds at town halls. Republicans even went so far as to hold a closed-door meeting yesterday about security measures in town hall meetings. According to Politico: “Asked about the intensity of the protests during a news conference after the meeting, Ryan said he hopes the demonstrations remain nonviolent.” Yet there’s no reason to expect otherwise…
I even noticed a couple of cops at the office hours today. They looked bored.
So here’s the math I’m doing:
- Our senator refuses to schedule a Town Hall
- And Republicans held a meeting to talk about a problem that doesn’t exist
- Then there is a concerted strategy to avoid Town Halls and constituents.
Oh, this idea is definitely speculative. I have nothing beyond circumstantial evidence. But I am frustrated that our Senator, who represents ALL constituents — even those who did not vote for her — will not visit her constituents.
I’m closing with a video by my lovely friend, Megan, who says it best:
PS: Here’s the press coverage because we KNOW that it takes more than just one meeting to make change. But our #FiveMinutes will add up.
PPS: It can take effort to get time with a Senator. For suggestions, go revisit our other post about town halls for useful resources for how to find them! But this is a good fight. Stick with it. And find a wonderful group of people to do it with. I have, and it’s made all of the difference.