“Town hall” update

With no advance warning, Congressman Goodlatte Thursday evening notified people who had signed up online that he was holding a “telephone town hall.”

If anyone wanted to participate, they had to drop whatever they were doing or had planned for the evening.

Ellen Mayock of Lexington posted on her blog:

People all over the United States, including those of us in Virginia’s 6th District (for the U.S. Congress), are usually quite busy at 6:49pm.  There are dinners to make, the elderly to look in on, children to get to activities and to feed, bathe, and get to bed.   Some of us are still at work or headed out to work.  That’s why many of us did not receive Congressman Bob Goodlatte’s automated invitation to his “telephone town hall meeting” until well into the call, which began at 7:00pm, eleven minutes after the message was left.  Here’s the message Goodlatte left:

“Hi.  This is Congressman Bob Goodlatte.  It’s Thursday evening and I was calling to invite you to participate in a live, telephone town meeting to hear from you about issues before Congress.  I regret that I missed you.  If the call is still in progress, you can join by calling {#}.  Otherwise, if I may be of assistance to you, please contact my Roanoke office at {#} or my Lynchburg office at {#}.  Also, if you’d like to receive important updates from my office, I encourage you to sign up to receive. {message cuts off}.”


By the time I called in, I had missed about the first 17 minutes of the conversation.  It turns out, though, that 43 minutes of insensitive responses to individuals genuinely concerned about social security benefits, Medicare cuts, the proposed decimation of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the executive branch’s dangerous cover-up of its multiple links to Russia and cybersecurity threats was plenty of time.  In fact, Congressman Goodlatte uses the telephone to good advantage.  He tightly controls the medium by accepting a limited number of calls, reading from pre-packaged GOP scripts, and channeling all potentially troublesome questions into reassurances about how he is taking care of the safety and security of good United States citizens.  It becomes rather easy for listeners on the call to guess who are the bad U.S. citizens.

Katie Webb Cyphert of Lynchburg provided the following summary of what she heard during the so-called town hall:

1. A woman was asking about Obamacare and how a repeal would be terrible for low-income folks. Goodlatte talked about Medical Savings Accounts and how all the Obamacare stuff (keep your plan, keep your doctor) had been proven false.

2. A caller said she prays for the elected officials and wonders why folks won’t give Trump a chance. Goodlatte agreed and thanked her for the prayers.

3. A man said he’s known Bob Goodlatte since his first election, but that the last several years Goodlatte has become a lapdog and is backing policies that are contrary to our American values.

4. A poll was conducted on whether sanctuary cities should still get federal dollars. I didn’t catch the results for Yes and No, but 46% said not sure.

5. A man asked when they’re going to raise the minimum wage. Goodlatte said that the state can do so and to call state representatives.

6. A man said he got a Social Security increase of 31 cents per month but his electric bill is $610. How are people supposed to make ends meet? Goodlatte said that the new health plan would lower costs for Medicare participants.

6. A woman asked about the ACA Repeal and how it would affect those currently on Social Security and Medicare, for which they’ve paid. Goodlatte said a consumer-driven plan with medical savings accounts would help.

7. A woman called and read her email (to which she hadn’t received a response) about Flynn, Conway, and investigations. Goodlatte said he’s in favor of investigating the Russian discussions and leaks.

8. Another poll question on whether countries like Iran and North Korea pose a threat to the US. Results were 80% yes, to which Goodlatte said that’s why we need the temporary stricter travel vetting.

9. A man invited Goodlatte to the Town Hall on Wednesday at 4:30 in Vinton and then said not to mess up Social Security and Medicare. Goodlatte said he can’t attend Wednesday.

Meanwhile The Roanoke Times reported Thursday:

Sixth District Rep. Bob Goodlatte has declined an invitation to appear at a town hall meeting organized by a local grass-roots organization demanding a meeting with him next week.

Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County, was holding a scheduled telephone town hall with constituents Thursday evening, his spokeswoman, Beth Breeding, said. “Congressman Goodlatte’s staff notified the group earlier today that he is unable to attend,” Breeding said in an email Thursday.

Roanoke Indivisible, a local chapter of the national progressive organization Indivisible that has sprung to life in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency, announced via Facebook a “People’s Town Hall for Bob Goodlatte” at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Charles R. Hill Senior Center in Vinton.

One thought on ““Town hall” update

  1. Hiding from protesting constituents in a radio station taking pre-screened calls is NOT a Town Hall Meeting, perhaps our oldest political institution. Jeff Clevenger


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