Drumroll please. Because this week, we spoke to our two senators. On the same day. Seriously. This all started on the first Resist Trump Tuesday after 45 was inaugurated. Resist Trump Tuesdays were organized by indivisible groups to promote being an active voice against trump. Our friends Johanna and Emily visited the local Morgantown offices of our republican senator, Senator Shelly Moore Capito on that first Tuesday. They asked for a town hall. They heard nothing. They went back a second week, this time with a larger group, including the three of us. We asked for a town hall. We heard nothing. Week 3, week 4. Week 5, 6, 7, 8. Nothing. Eventually we started annoying the building manager, who told us that no more than two people could enter the building at once. So we stated a relay. With headbands and all, we ran two at a time up to the senator’s office. No meeting. We went back Tuesday after Tuesday. Nothing. Then Micah had an idea. Ask her in person. Capito hosts her constituents in DC every Wednesday. She refused to meet with us in Morgantown so he went and asked. He was the only constituent in attendance that week. He spoke respectfully and thoughtfully. He listened and the senator listened. Then, he got contact information from her staff. In the meantime, we kept going to her offices. Every Tuesday. Like clockwork. At high noon. Between 10-30 of us came. In the end, she agreed to meet with a small group of constituents. So Megan, Micah, and I went, with friend and NOW chapter president Emily, along with a WVU professor and health care policy expert.
Mr. Micah is also BFFs with senator Manchin. As you’ll recall, Micah was the main organizer of the Manchin Town Hall we held back in March, and everyone on his team was thrilled with how it went. So Micah contacted Manchin’s scheduler and Senator Manchin AlSO agreed to meet with us. On the same day. So, yes, two senators, a five hour drive, lots of coffee, and five activists.
So that’s where we’re at. We didn’t record the meeting for a variety of reasons. But we recorded our planning session in the car and our debrief. Please excuse the extra ambient noise.
We met with our senators. We know it’s just the first step of many. We disagreed with Senator Capito on many issues. Suffice it to say we’ll never agree on issues related to border security and immigration. But she’s our senator until 2020. We’re stuck. And we agree on many other issues – at their root. Her solutions may not be ours ideal solutions, but she’s a politician and I do believe – perhaps naively – that she will work with the residents of WV in mind. So our strategy is to work with her. Some would disagree and want a more confrontational stance. I won’t say we’re experts and our strategy will evolve. Onward.