Republican Congressional Candidate Proactively Filled Void Left By Baird
This past Saturday, I got to attend an event that seemed unique in at least two ways. It was the first in a series of Town Halls being made available to voters in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District by Republican Candidate Jon Russell. The first aspect that I believe to be unique was that this was a Town Hall being offered by a Congressional Candidate instead of a sitting Member of Congress. The current Member of Congress from Washington’s 3rd District is Brian Baird, who initially refused to hold face-to-face meetings with constituents during the current Congressional August Recess. In the face of this, Russell scheduled his series of Town Halls to assure that these constituents would have the opportunity to be heard. Another aspect that I know was unique was that I got to attend in person. Up to this point, it had only been made possible for me to attend one Baird Town Hall by watching online.
It struck me that Saturday’s Town Hall was a better example of what Town Halls should be like when compared to the Heath Care Town Hall that Baird finally agreed to hold. The theme of this Town Hall was “Restoring Trust in Government” covering topics including: Balanced Budget, Term Limits and Health Care. Of course the venue for this meeting and the number of people who turned out were more modest than for Baird’s … when you’re an incumbent, its easier to get access to impressive venues and when you’re an incumbent whose misrepresentation of his constituents has really ticked off those constituents, you can bet a lot of those folks will show up to have their say. However, the turnout for Russell’s “Restoring Trust in Government Town Hall Meeting” was standing-room-only. And the venue, the Main Meeting Room of the Three Creeks Community Library, offered a well-appointed and fully adequate setting. Furthermore, the atmosphere at Saturday’s event was very positive and constructive. Unlike some events, where the upshot is just pointing out things that are wrong and taking potshots at those who are behind those missteps, this event focused more on constructive alternatives to those missteps that were offered both by Russell and the meeting’s attendees. Most importantly, those who came got exactly what Jon Russell said he wanted to provide … an opportunity to be heard. In fact, though the number of attendees was fewer, I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of questions and comments heard at Jon Russell’s “Restoring Trust in Government Town Hall Meeting” was equal-to-or-greater-than the 37 or 38 questions/comments heard at Baird’s Heath Care Town Hall. A key reason for this was that any attendee who wanted to be heard was able to do so simply by raising their hand and being called on during Russell’s initial formal presentation and/or during the Q&A session following. Of course, it was a real plus that, in this setting, anyone who wanted to be heard could be heard from where they were sitting, both by Candidate Russell and by their fellow attendees.
In reflecting on my attendance at Jon Russell’s “Restoring Trust in Government Town Hall Meeting” this past Saturday, I was very pleased that I attended and I was quite encouraged by what I experienced. I think it’s just a great example of the difference in results when you have a Leader whose heart is to be our Representative versus a person who only sees Representative as a career title.