March 7, 2006
If your phone rings this evening, pick up. It could be your Congressman.
That is, if you live in the 26th District. The District is represented by Republican David Dreier, Chairman of the House Rules Committee, who has found a new way to stay in touch with folks back home while he’s in Washington.
Dreier held his first telephone town hall meeting last week, connecting with nearly 800 constituents. He held another Monday night and will be back on the line tonight and Wednesday.
It sounds like a great way to communicate with voters and avoid the isolation that can creep up on our representatives on Capitol Hill. It’s a more interpersonal approach than an Internet chat and a technology more of our Congress members should try out.
A computer link, marketed by Tele-Town Hall, allowed Dreier to use a telephone switching network to call more than 11,000 homes within minutes for his inaugural forum last week. Twenty constituents got to ask in-depth questions. Dreier could see their names pop up on a computer screen and he answered their questions as the hundreds who had joined the call listened in. The forum lasted more than an hour.
People could say and ask whatever they wanted.
“This is a wide-open format – there is no holding back on these calls,” the Congressman said. “We’ve had the chance to talk about everything from concerns regarding the Middle East to Medicare, from border security to postal delays.”
That’s a healthy thing – for representatives to hear directly from voters what’s uppermost on their minds.
If there’s something on your mind, you might want to stay by the phone tonight.