Letters to the Editor

Town halls needed to express concerns

A recent letter to the editor expressed amazement at the “audacity” of a group of Glenn Thompson’s constituents who recently visited his office to request a town hall meeting. The writer asked, “Who do they think they are?”

As a member of that group, I can tell you. The 21 of us there represented a very small proportion of a much larger group of concerned citizens who have questions about the decisions Thompson is making on our behalf, decisions that endanger our environment, health and civil rights.

Despite the writer’s belief that it is not difficult to meet with Thompson, this is not our experience. We’ve called and talked to the friendly and patient office staff, only to learn that Thompson is not available until March, and no guarantees that he’ll have time to meet then. His tele-town halls are a façade of a public forum — questions are handpicked with most never answered, and there is no opportunity for further dialogue on issues.

This lack of accessibility to our representative led our group to take time away from work and school to visit Thompson’s office to request regular in-person town hall meetings. We do not wish for a town hall so as to “heckle” Thompson. Town halls have a history in our country as a way for voices from the community to reach the top. Listening and responding to constituents, whether they agree with him or not, is part of Thompson’s job.

Melissa Poulsen,

State College