Why Town Halls Are Important and How You Can Find or Request One

Since this year’s inauguration, huge numbers of voters have attended or requested town hall meetings with their legislators. These voters are demanding answers about a variety of issues: the dismantling of healthcare programs, the possible ties between the current administration and Russia, Trump’s executive orders and his cabinet picks.

GOP Senator Tom Cotton was faced with an angry uproar at his Arkansas town hall event, when constituents demanded to know how he plans to provide protection for those people who rely on Obamacare.

The same thing happened to Jason Chaffetz at his town hall held in a suburb of Salt Lake City; Protestors booed whenever Trump’s name was mentioned and shouted “Do your job! Do your job!” at Chaffetz. Others chanted “Vote him out!” 

Other Republican legislators have had similar experiences, but Texas Representative Louie Gohmert has announced he won’t be holding an in-person town hall anytime soon because “there are groups from the more violent strains of the leftist ideology, some even being paid, who are preying on public town halls to wreak havoc and threaten public safety.”

Gohmert is echoing Donald Trump, who in a tweet dismissed the furious citizens as “so-called angry crowds” at town hall events “planned by liberal activists.”

But Gohmert is not alone. In the face of angry constituents demanding answers from their legislators, around 200 GOP Congresspeople have reportedly decided to skip the town hall events, slated for this first congressional recess of 2017.

Voters Remain Undeterred

But voters are not deterred. Where politicians are running away in fear of their constituents, citizens are forging ahead with town hall events of their own with, if necessary, an empty seat, at the front reserved for their member of Congress, or a cardboard mock-up of the missing politician.

Town hall meetings are important, and elected officials need to listen to what their frustrated constituents have to say, all the more so because those constituents are turning out in record numbers. Isn’t this what is supposed to happen in a democracy?

Former Arizona Representative Gabby Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt at a 2011 public event, used strong words to call on lawmakers to make themselves available to their constituents.

“To the politicians who have abandoned their civic obligations, I say this: Have some courage,” Giffords said. “Face your constituents. Hold town halls.”

How to Find a Town Hall or Encourage Your Representative to Hold One

The Town Hall Project can help you find a local town hall. Just click on this link, enter your zip code, and the site will give you the location and date of your nearest town hall.

Image credit: Ellie Sophia Brown

Image credit: Ellie Sophia Brown

If you can’t find a town hall near you — or if your representative refuses to join the town halls — there are actions you can take. 

  1. Call your representative and ask when they plan to hold a town hall meeting.
  2. Create a Care2 petition targeting your local representatives and explain why you would like to speak with them.
  3. Share your petition to get more signatures.
  4. Join forces with other local Care2 members who are demanding their representatives hold a town hall meeting:

California: Representative Doug LaMalfa
Colorado: Senator Cory Gardner
Florida: Senators Marco Rubio and Bob Nelson
Indiana: Senators Todd Young and Representative Trey Hollingsworth
Maine: Senator Susan Collins
Missouri: Senator Roy Blunt
North Carolina: Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr
Oregon: Representative Greg Walden

Resist!

Main image credit: Karisa Gilman-Hernandez

59 comments

Marie W
Marie Wabout a year ago

Thanks for posting.

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Chad Anderson
Chad Aabout a year ago

Democracy works best when everyone is involved.

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Margaret Goodman
Margaret Gabout a year ago

David F. wrote, " ... George Soros funded regressive liberals ... " Could David tell me how I get that Soros money? I've been going to protests for free, and I could use the money.

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Winn A
Winnie Aabout a year ago

Thanks

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Brian F
Brian Fabout a year ago

Past Your continuing to promote your lie that Ed Shultz was fired for calling Laura Ingram a slut even after I corrected you. Ed Shultz was suspended for one week in 2011 for calling her a slut, not fired. Ed Shultz was fired in 2015 after criticizing Obama's horrible TPP trade deal. Like disgraced liar Donna Brazille who got caught passing debate questions to Hillary during her primary with Bernie Sanders, your a liar too.

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Margie F
Margie FOURIEabout a year ago

Thanks.

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william Miller
william Millerabout a year ago

thanks

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Past Member
Past Member about a year ago

LMAO!! Idiots here think i am still being paid. Nice try with those lies.

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Past Member
Past Member about a year ago

Marianne C. Also caught Brian F. in a lie about Ed Shultz being fired from MSNBC. He was fired for calling Laura Ingrahm a slut. Brian F. is blaming Obama. You can find that evidence in google.

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Past Member
Past Member about a year ago

Brian F. Whiny lying idiot is back.

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