On Monday, Feb. 27, I listened to the telephone "townhall" held by Congressman David Joyce, 14th Congressional District. The telephone call lasted about 30 minutes. All audience questions were pre-screened. Only six were asked publicly. In his presentation the congressman complained about citizen incivility.
On Saturday, Feb. 25, I also observed the citizen "townhall" held on the square in Painsville. Mr. Joyce did not attend that meeting, even though it was during the congressional recess. Speaker after speaker told their personal stories. Many of their stories related to personal health care needs and the fear that the Affordable Care Act replacement will make the health care too expensive. Virtually all speakers and citizens at the Painesville "townhall" were respectful and civil. Many in the crowd of over 150 standing in cold and snow were seniors. Veterans present were thanked for their service. Only one person became unruly and disrespectful, and the crowd quickly closed him down.
It is too bad Congressman Joyce was not present to listen to his constituents and to see the respect they have for democracy. America is a representative democracy. Elected representatives are supposed to listen to the needs and fears of their constituents. The citizens of the 14th District deserve the chance to see their congressman in person and to ask him unscripted questions. Telephone broadcasts are no substitute for this. The citizens of the 14th Congressional District deserve access to their elected representative.
Richard G Melecki, Stow