On Aug. 12 just 20 miles down the road from Representative Dave Reichert’s district office in Issaquah, a peaceful, orderly town hall took place. No one who attended appeared agitated or upset. No police were on site, attendees did not have to pass before metal detectors, and no one checked constituents’ belongings before they entered the auditorium.
Representative Adam Smith of the 9th Congressional District hosted a town hall for the people who elected him to office so that he could listen to their concerns. He even stayed longer than scheduled so that he could hear from all who wanted to speak.
This is noteworthy to citizens of the 8th Congressional District because its representative has not hosted a town hall in many, many months, choosing instead to ignore multiple requests from his constituents. Rep. Reichert has cited safety concerns for himself, his staff, and his constituents and has even voiced that he found town halls to be counterproductive. During the Facebook live interview back in February Rep. Reichert responded to host Enrique Cerna from KCTS that townhalls are “not productive. It’s just a moment that …some people want to use to voice their opinions sometime in a very loud, very rude and obscene way.”
How could it be that the Congressman in the 9th Congressional District hosts very successful town halls and the congressman from the adjacent 8th appears to be afraid to face his constituents? The Congressman from the 9th clearly understands that in order to represent a constituency, he must meet with and listen to the people who elect him to advocate for their interests. Listening conveys respect; respect engenders more respect.