After his vote to defeat Trumpcare, Republican Sen. McCain stated, “We [Congress] must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of the aisle, heed the recommendations of the nation’s governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people.” Will our Republican legislators respond to McCain’s – and our – cry to be listened to?
Yes we have different points of view! But why are Johnson and Gallagher unwilling to talk to us, to meet with us, to listen to us? Neither of them has had an in-person town hall to meet with constituents since the election in November. They have called town halls “political theater.” But hundreds of us have attended two town halls without Johnson or Gallagher being there. There was no booing allowed. We respectfully stated our concerns – why is this so threatening to them? What are they afraid of? Life stories of how lives have been changed by finally receiving the medical care needed for a beloved family member is not threatening. These are real life stories. These stories and need to be listened to by our legislators. They need to hear both sides of an issue and serve all of their constituents; not just those who voted for them.
I have participated in two of the telephone town halls – one with Johnson and one with Gallagher. There was absolutely no notice of getting the call – so if you were on your way out the door or simply not home – too bad you missed the call. If you work during the day – too bad you missed the call. After being selected, I have never been allowed to ask a question. A staff person screened the questions. So in both instances, I was “allowed” to listen for over an hour to either Johnson or Gallagher talk about their opinions or positions on issues. I know their positions. I read their websites. But they do not know mine and probably never will.
In both telephone experiences few questions were asked: seven (Gallagher) and eight (Johnson). How can this compare to our representatives hearing maybe 100 questions at a real in person town hall. Think of all that they might learn if they were to listen to 100-plus of their constituents at one sitting. Are they interested in learning about their constituents?
If we are to come together as Sen. McCain is suggesting to improve health care in our country and to work on the myriad of other problems our country faces, we must be willing to listen to one another. Sen. Johnson and Rep. Gallagher, will you meet your constituents face to face and begin to work on solutions with your constituents? I know we all pay your salary; so I believe, in a democracy, we should all be heard.
Sister Bay, Wis.