Another set of Rep. Reed’s Town Hall Meetings are taking place next Saturday, February 15. Thay start at 8:00 at Hopewell (Ontario County) Town Hall, 10:30 at Prattsburgh (Steuben County) Town Hall, 1:00 at Addison (Steuben County) Town Hall, and 3:30 at Southport Town Hall (Chemung County). His website gives more information about the meetings.
Weather permitting I am planning on going to the Prattsburgh meeting. If anyone makes it to other meetings, let us know about the topics the crowd brings up and his responses. We would like to share them with other readers.
There was an article in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle about a month ago praising Rep. Reed’s meetings. After telling about his Reed’s January 14 slate of Town Halls, the author wrote
“While that’s as it should be, it is not always the case. Too many lawmakers, including local Rep. Louise Slaughter, avoid such get-togethers. They may argue that they attend public events regularly, and that’s true. But a press conference is different from a session devoted solely to hearing from constituents.
Speaking of which, constituents must make the most of such opportunities. Residents in the 23rd District with advice or questions about health care, immigration reform, unemployment benefits, the farm bill, gun control and a host of issues should not pass on the opportunity to take their case directly to their congressional representative next week. It’s an opportunity voters in many another district envy.”
I never did get back to the paper to inform them that the Town Hall meetings are not Press Conferences, but more like campaign stops. He by no means answers every question; he doesn’t even look at every question. His side kick Joe selects the questions that he think Tom would like to answer. Then, as illustrated in earlier articles, might not answer the question, but passes along his talking points. A classic example is when he was asked, “What are your positions on dumping fracking fluids on roads and storing fluids in old wells?” We heard four minutes of his Fracking Stump speech, and the question rephrased, and finally we heard his basic non-answer: “I feel the state is in a very good position to address the issues to deal with it.”
Joe does tell you if Tom doesn’t answer your question, his staff will contact you with the answer. Just to let you know, they have never contacted me to answer any of my questions.
With that being said, these meetings do give us the opportunity to interact with him and to hear others’ concerns. We also meet people who do not agree with him.