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Representative Vicky Hartzler (r) at an open public town hall in Harrisonville in 2015.

Representative Vicky Hartzler (r) [2015 file photo].

Yesterday evening, in response to a social media post by Representative Vicky Hartzler (r):

dj finney‏ @dj_finney
Replying to @RepHartzler @HASCRepublicans
Great, now let your constituents question you. Despite what you think it’s actually your job to meet us
7:55 PM – 12 Jun 2017

Apparently, that’s a letter a constituent received from Representative Hartzler (r) – we have no confirmation that it came from Representative Hartzler’s (r) office, other than it’s attached to a response on the representative’s Twitter feed. There are some interesting details:

….As you know, the Congress is typically in session all but a few weeks during the year, which provides limited time for me in the district. This is one reason why telephone town halls are so effective in reaching out to constituents as I am able to communicate with thousands of Missourians -throughout the 24 counties of our district – at one time from my office in Washington while answering their questions and hearing their concerns. Although the last few months have been very busy, I conducted several tele-town halls reaching over 10,000 constituents and hearing a diverse opinion on several issues including healthcare, the travel ban, and tax reform. In addition, I have taken time to meet one-on-one with key leaders of some of the more active groups in my district like CoMo for Progress to ensure I am hearing both sides of the story on legislation such as the American Health care Act and many of President Trump’s more controversial policies….

You can check the days in session of the U.S. House of Representatives for the 115th Congress here.

About those “tele-town halls”: 1) Do constituents call in, or are they called? 2) Are questions pre-screened? How are questions selected? 3) Is any follow-up allowed?

Ah, yes, CoMo for Progress. It was a meeting in the district. Why not open it up to anyone who wished to attend? Who made them “key leaders”? What were the meeting ground rules? Is there audio, video or a transcript of the meeting – any public record of what was said?

So much for accountability.

And, what did we say in May about that meeting with CoMo for Progress “key leaders”?:

Oderint dum metuant (May 11, 2017)

….The whole point of being a representative is to engage with any of your constituents who wish to do so, not filter who can or cannot participate. More so, groups which are ostensibly promoting transparency and access for all individuals who care to participate apparently acquiescing to such restrictive ground rules for a meeting are not serving their purpose.

They got rolled. There’s no record (yet) of what transpired. Vicky Hartzler got a reelection advertisement moment. For nothing.

Leave it to newbie activist progressives to bring a toy [brand name avoided] foam bat to a gang fight. Until they realize the latter is the reality of our current political environment they’ll continue to get used….

Yep, they were used.

Another excerpt from the constituent letter attributed to Representative Hartzler (r):

….I understand there are some people who see town hall meetings as the only measure of an elected official’s outreach to the community. I do not share this view. I have made a priority to meet and listen to groups who I both agree and disagree with, and I have consistently stated where I stand on various issues while listening to those of all opinions. I will continue to do so….

Well, open public town halls are certainly one method of accountability – the forum is open, in front of everyone, and there’s no ducking a follow up to any ambiguous responses from our representatives.

As for those “group meetings”, if there’s no record of what anyone said, how do we know what actually happened?

Apparently tele-town halls are the only true measure of an elected official’s outreach to the community. See, that’s how a straw man argument works.

There used to be open public town halls. What happened? Oh, yeah, we almost forgot.


Rep. Vicky Hartzler (r): town halls in Clinton and Warrensburg (August 11, 2011)

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (r): town hall in Warrensburg, part 1 (August 11, 2011)

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (r): town hall in Warrensburg, part 2 (August 13, 2011)

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (r): town hall in Warrensburg, part 3 (August 14, 2011)

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (r): town hall in Warrensburg, part 4 (August 14, 2011)

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (r): May 4, 2012 town halls in Buffalo, Versailles, California – photos (May 7, 2012)