It’s a time-honored tradition that our elected officials return to their districts and hold town hall meetings during recesses in Congress.
Doug LaMalfa, our representative in the House of Representatives, is not holding any town hall meetings in his district during the recess and, like many congressmen, he appeared instead in a Facebook interview conducted by the Redding Record Searchlight.
According to public television station KQED, 29 members of the California Congressional delegation held or scheduled town hall meetings this week, but 32 members, including LaMalfa, did not.
“It’s just been a busy week with a lot going on he had to get accomplished in the district,” a representative in LaMalfa’s Washington office said. “He just hasn’t had any time that worked out to have a town hall. He will be doing them soon in the coming months … He’s been traveling throughout the district meeting with a lot of constituent groups and getting a lot done.”
The representative said LaMalfa has been focused on the Oroville Dam situation.
During his Facebook appearance, LaMalfa said this was the first full week this year that he’s been able to visit his district, and he plans to hold town hall meetings in April.
“People say, ‘Why didn’t you have one this week?’” LaMalfa said during his Facebook 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.”
The congressman said he’s always enjoyed holding town hall meetings, although sometimes he wished more people would attend.
“I think it’s going to be bigger now with all the organizing going on by the Obama thing, Organizing for America,” LaMalfa said. “My staff is feeling the effects of that now, too. They’re showering the place with phone calls. If people want to be nice during the phone calls, it would be better. If they want to be nasty about it, they’re not really that welcome … I guess you have to ask yourself, ‘Do you really want to have a productive conversation? Do you want to have both sides be heard, or do you want to turn it into a Jerry Springer show?’ That’s what some of these things are looking like out there. That isn’t productive for anybody. It’s a waste of my time; it’s a waste of people’s time who actually want to show up and have a conversation.”
Fair enough, Congressman LaMalfa. We’ll take you at your word, and we look forward to a town hall meeting with you and your constituents here in Susanville this April.