Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Telephone-town halls bring government home

TTH with Rep. Jeff Morris
Since you’re reading this blog post, chances are you actually have been to a town hall meeting with one of your elected officials. The Advance thanks you and your work to make government better, but this post is about those not usually in the room.
In the last few years, House Democrats have embraced a new way of reaching out and talking with their communities. As you’ve seen on the blog, many members like telephone-town halls (TTH) as a way to complement their constituent outreach. At the beginning of each TTH, calls are placed into the district inviting people to stay on the line if they’d like to join the discussion. An hour-long question-and-answer session then takes place.
“Enabling the people of my district to engage from home, if it’s a convenient time for them, has brought hundreds of new voices into the political dialogue,” said Rep. Marko Liias. “It’s great to give updates from session, but I believe there is incredible value in neighbors listening to the other questions and concerns brought up in the meetings.”
Rep. Marko Liias at a live town hall
On a TTH last week, Liias had a question from Robin in Everett wondering how to deal with the speeding problem near her home and an elementary school. Robin stated that she’s “not real politically inclined” before asking how she should go about making the area safer, possibly through installing speed bumps.
“Robin has already talked to local law enforcement about the problem, had already come up with a possible solution, and was ready to take her community problem on,” Liias said. “That’s politics and being engaged, so it was great to have the opportunity to connect with Robin and hopefully help her lead on that issue.”
On the call Liias, familiar with school walking and biking safety issues, offered to come out to check out the problem with Robin and help brainstorm ways to make the streets there safer for children getting to school.

To read this story in Spanish, please click here.