Town hall meetings two-way street

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We were pleased to see a good turnout at Denton Bible Church on Thursday night when U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess conducted his latest town hall meeting.

People spoke, asked about or commented on a number of topics, including veterans’ benefits, the Affordable Care Act, National Security Agency issues, food stamp program cuts, impeachment and the minimum wage.

We commend those who participated, and we applaud Congressman Burgess for his willingness to hold town hall meetings.

Granted, Burgess is a Republican representing a predominantly Republican area, so some of the comments and questions could be anticipated, but town hall meetings are the type of events where you can typically count on running into at least a few people who want to voice an opposing view.

To his credit, Burgess appeared ready to listen to all attendees.

“Not everyone’s going to agree — I accept that,” Burgess told us. “People that come that want to voice an opinion different from mine, that is part of the participatory nature of democracy.”

We agree, and we only wish that more town hall meetings would be scheduled — by all elected officials. In our view, those who represent the public should be willing to face their constituents on a regular basis.

We realize that listening to comments and fielding questions in person might be a bit old-fashioned and is certainly much slower than sending out an all-points social media blast, but we still like the personal touch.

And, in too many cases, that personal touch — caring enough about the people you represent to show up and talk to them face to face — is neglected or ignored altogether by public officials.

So, whether you agree with Burgess or not, you’ve got to give him credit for his willingness to share time with voters.

Town hall meetings are not one-way affairs, of course. While taxpayers are voicing concerns, wise elected officials will take note and file away valuable information for future use.

Thursday’s meeting was no exception, and we heard several comments that should provide elected officials with plenty to think about.

Again, thanks to all area residents who came out Thursday night to ask questions or express concerns. You held up your end of the bargain.

Now, it’s up to Congressman Burgess and other elected officials to follow up on your input.

 


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