Why no rep town-hall meetings?

An open letter to Congressman Steve Stivers:

I am disappointed in your decision not to schedule any town hall-style meetings, not a single one, during the Presidents Day Congressional Recess.

Before you left D.C. for the recess, I phoned your Wilmington and Hilliard offices about your schedule. Because they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) say if you were going to have any town hall meetings, I deduced that you weren’t. That was confirmed by one more call Wednesday morning to your Wilmington office.

Let me take this moment to say that your district staffers are unfailingly polite and professional, which makes my nearly daily chats with them pleasant exchanges about some not so pleasant topics, like the prospect of millions of Americans losing their health insurance and Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.

Town hall meetings are a win-win. Picture it: You up front, presiding at a school gymnasium or American Legion hall filled to capacity with constituents who are on edge about the future of our families and neighbors, our communities, our nation, and our world. We would be there because we care. That you showed up would tell us you care, too.

If you’d had a town hall, I predict you and the attendees would have gone away more trusting of one another, more hopeful that the problems we’re up against are surmountable.

When you get back to Washington, I hope you will confer with your colleagues who hosted public forums back home over the Presidents Day recess. Ask them what they learned from their constituents, how valuable they found that hour or two, and measure that against the opportunity you — and we — missed.

Mary Thomas Watts