As a constituent of Nicollet County and as one of a group of citizens who has been visiting Rep. Jim Hagedorn’s office every week during our lunch hour to ask for a town hall, I was shocked to hear that at 1:30 p.m. Thursday — as many of us were working and going about our daily business — Hagedorn held a secretive, invitation-only telephone "town hall."
There was no advance notice in newspapers, social media or on his website. There was not even a call-in option for those who found out about it from friends. Even the invitees were called while the town hall was in session.
No one was able to plan for it or even know to pick up the phone. If the congressman wanted to be accessible to constituents who prefer the phone, he could have a call-in option for an in-person town hall during congressional recess.
We have been asking politely, but insistently, for an open, public, accessible town hall and to announce it widely and far enough in advance so that he could hear from constituents. We were told to our face that the town hall would happen and that it would be announced via social media. It was not. This is not open, this is not public, this is not accessible.
This is not what the Founding Fathers envisioned when they set up a representational democracy. The job of our representatives is to meet with constituents, represent their interests in Washington and be accountable to the people who live in their district.
Holding a last-minute, invitation-only, private telephone town hall is not democracy.