He promises to return in April, but will that be too late?
It’s a time-honored tradition that our elected officials return to their districts and hold town hall meetings during recesses in Congress.
Congressman Doug LaMalfa, who represents Plumas County as part of the 1st Congressional District, is not holding any town hall meetings during this recess, but he did appear in a Facebook interview conducted by the Redding Record Searchlight.
“People say, ‘Why didn’t you have one this week?’” LaMalfa said during the interview. “Well, because we have a lot of issues with weather, travel — am I supposed to follow evacuees (and say), ‘Hey, we’re having a town hall, you wanna come by?’ … It’s just not the right time to do it. Things are still flowering in Washington, so to speak, with what we’re working on. It’s better to come and give a better report on what we’re doing than a report on what’s in the works. There’s still a lot to be done on setting the agenda on this session.”
And therein lies one of the problems with LaMalfa delaying his meetings with his constituents. Voters want some input into what is happening in Washington, D.C. They want to weigh in on health care, immigration, national security, and the list goes on.
It’s been reported that 29 members of the California Congressional delegation held or scheduled town hall meetings last week, but 32 members, including LaMalfa, did not.Congressman Tom McClintock, who represents the 4th Congressional District, held at least two — one in Mariposa and one in Roseville — where he met with standing-room-only crowds that grew quite vocal at times. It wasn’t always pleasant, but he showed up and he listened. This week’s national news coverage showed large turnouts across the country for congressmen and senators who ventured home and met with their constituents.
LaMalfa said he expects to see larger attendance than usual when he holds his April town halls, but he wants the dialogue to remain respectful. It’s unknown at this point where LaMalfa plans to hold his meetings, but one local group is hopeful that the venues will include Plumas County. The newly formed Plumas Action Network wants LaMalfa to appear in Quincy, and some of its members planned to show up at a Feb. 24 water symposium in Auburn, to contact LaMalfa directly.
In the meantime, constituents can send letters or postcards, write emails, or phone LaMalfa’s office. LaMalfa asks that any correspondence remain civil. He said his office has seen an increase in rude and abusive calls and missives. On the adjacent page is a short article with suggestions about how to share your opinions with an elected official.
Let’s hope that in April this space will be devoted to an editorial addressing Congressman Doug LaMalfa’s town hall meeting in Plumas County and the constructive exchange between him and his constituents.