Congressperson Ann Kirkpatrick's "Town Hall"
Updated 8/8/09: HERE is video. As you will see from this video, she is in the entryway of a grocery store and the crowd is a bunch of white-haired gents and ladies. When one woman directly asks Rep. Kirkpatrick a question on health care, Kirkpatrick tells her she's not going to answer any questions on that. When the woman tells her that these people all want to know (and the people clap signaling their agreement with the woman), Kirkpatrick simply walks out. So much for the wild, swastika-bearing organized mob... (and kudos to the guy who calls after her, "You're our employee!") And note, these senior citizens don't get "unruly" until she has left.
This is all about the news/gossip reports about how Ann Kirkpatrick's "Town Hall" meeting in Holbrook, AZ was supposedly overrun by a group of organized thugs. Not true... According to people who were there, she simply canceled the event when a crowd showed up. (Transcript here.)
Rep. Kirkpatrick is limiting her "chats" to areas remote and far off the beaten path -- AND SHE IS HOLDING HER "GET TOGETHERS" IN THE LOCAL GROCERY STORES!!! Her office told me that her only appearance in my area was an invitation only press conference to talk about TARP funds but it was a short visit and there would be no opportunity for questions FROM THE PUBLIC. They did tell me that I could drive the two hours from the most populous town in this county -- where she will NOT meet with constituents -- to attend one of the small gatherings in either Payson, Winslow or Holbrook in one of two neighboring counties... BUT she had no intention of addressing the health care issue at any of them. SHE was coming home to discuss infrastructure projects and public safety (as in fire and police). Note in the transcript referenced above, the woman says of Kirkpatrick, "She didn't want to answer any questions..."
When I asked why she wasn't scheduling any meetings in the immediate Prescott area, her staff informed me that the Congresswoman "already heard enough from the people in the Prescott area and didn't see a reason to meet here." Pardon me?? So I asked the staffer, "You mean because the people of Prescott are informed and communicate regularly, the Congresswoman is penalizing us?" Of course, her answer was, "No, of course not..." After registering my strong disapproval at Ms. Kirkpatrick's lack of communications with her constituents, I asked her staffer to relay a message to my representative: "NO on H.R. 3200!"
Now let's look at Ms. Kirkpatrick's tactics at staying as far away from the maddening crowd while she's home this summer. Holbrook and Winslow are in Navajo County. Payson is in Gila County. Prescott is in Yavapai County. I'm sure the choice of Ms Kirkpatrick's "chats" had nothing at all to do with the fact that Navajo county is 44% registered Democrats to 32% Republican (she won the county) and Gila County is 44% to 36% Democrat/Republican (she won the county) and whereas Yavapai County is 46% Republican to 26% Democrat (she lost the county)? (/sarcasm).
Now you would think that a Congressperson would want to reach as many of her constituents as possible? (Population HERE.) Holbrook has a population of approximately 5,100, Winslow has 9,900 and Payson has 15,500. Prescott (alone) has 42,700; add Prescott Valley and Chino Valley (which border Prescott on either side), there are an additional 38,500 and 11,100, respectively. But Ann, who made exceptionally few campaign appearances in Yavapai County her entire congressional campaign, doesn't feel the need to talk with the people of Prescott or Yavapai?
The whole health care issue is THE topic everyone is talking about and everyone (including me) wants to talk about it... and people everywhere want to talk to their elected (as in YOU WORK FOR US) representatives... and I can't blame people one bit if they showed up at an event that is publicized on their Congressperson's website and where her staff directed people to go... and they get boisterous and perhaps even irate when she DOESN'T SHOW UP AND CANCELS THE EVENT???