Many U.S. Representatives are using the August recess to hold town meetings — especially this summer with the debate over the federal government’s role in health care heating up — but not rookie Congresswoman Betsy Markey.
The Fort Collins Democrat isn’t holding any actual town meetings. You know, the type you advertise a week or two in advance, invite all comers and answer questions from often unpredictable regular folks.
No time for that.
After frittering away the first two weeks of the August recess, Markey finally released a schedule of her “public outreach blitz.” Let’s just say, if this is a blitz, she should fire her defensive coordinator.
Markey’s outreach effort consists of nine small group meetings which she calls “Congress on Your Corner,” described as follows:
Note on Congress on Your Corner listening session format:
In order for as many 4th District residents as possible to speak directly with Rep. Markey, residents will join groups of 15 -20 people for public listening sessions. 4th District residents are asked to arrive no more than 30 minutes in advance of the meeting, to accommodate residents’ work and family schedules and so that everybody who would like to ask a question has an opportunity to do so.
Translation: I’m frightened of my constituents who may ask questions about bills that I claim to have read but obviously have not, so I’d rather to little “coffle clatch” meetings limited to 15-20 people for 30 minutes than to actually stand up in front of any voters who want to tell me that they really don’t trust the federal government to improve health care.
She’s also showing up at a Seniors Day event in Denver and then holding a “tele-town hall meeting” on Aug. 24. It’s not clear whether interested constituents can choose to call in — while Rep. Markey is safely on the other end of the phone — or if, as with Democrat Congressman Ed Perlmutter, only constituents who “win” a random telemarketing lottery and are honored with a direct phone call from their honorable representative will be able to participate.
And Congresswomen Markey cares even less for those of us in the 14 counties south and east of Interstate 76 because she’s not scheduling a single event in Baca, Bent, Cheyenne, Crowley, Kiowa, Kit Carson, Lincoln, Logan, Otero, Phillips, Prowers, Sedgwick, Washington or Yuma counties — effectively ignoring nearly 100,000 residents of the Fourth Congressional District.
If only she could get the IRS to ignore us next April. Absent that, perhaps taxpayers will return the favor by ignoring Betsy Markey come November 2010.