Meadows should host a public forum

Apr 13, 2017

Nobody could accuse U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows of not spending time in the district. In past years, Meadows has been seemingly everywhere in the district and has visited Haywood numerous times.

During his tenure, he has met with small groups in Haywood, toured factories and even been here for several “Day in the Life Of…” experiences where he works alongside people in their jobs.

What Meadows seldom does, however, is appear at an open forum where the robust give and take of politics is on display. The events where Meadows shows up are tightly controlled and often, members of the general public have little advance notice and aren’t looked upon kindly if they simply show up.

During the healthcare debate where Congress was searching for an alternative to Obamacare, Meadows was the darling of network and cable news shows when the Freedom Caucus, which he chairs, held the crucial trump card to sealing a deal.

During that period, even local newspapers such as The Mountaineer, which regularly features interviews with the Congressman, were ignored as the national headline makers were obliged. The constituents he represents had no chance to to look their Congressman in the eye during the intensity of the debate, and he only heard from them through letters, phone calls or emails.

This nation’s future hinges on happenings in Washington, D.C., as elected leaders decide who to fight, who to protect, who to reward and who to punish. All who carefully follow current events are interested in the first-hand account their elected representative can offer on a diverse range of issues. To deprive them of that opportunity almost seems undemocratic.

But, many in Congress, both Republican and Democrat, are skirting crowds that could be raucous and confrontational. Only the courageous Congressmen from both parties are holding regular town halls in their communities where voters have a chance to personally voice their concern in the traditions that have long been heralded in this nation. Robust discussion is the backbone of politics, and carefully tailoring events to avoid it is a travesty.

The Mountaineer joins others in the district calling for an open forum this spring where their Congressman will answer questions, personally listen to their concerns and do what he was elected to do — represent the people. Meadows has long said his goal is to represent all voters in his district, whether they voted for him or not.

It is one thing to read letters, emails or review the phone logs where aids record the number of people who call in to urge a yea or nay vote on an issue. It is altogether another to be in the midst of concerned constituents who want to interact with their representative.

Comments (12)
Posted by: Mary Thomas | Apr 14, 2017 07:44

Thank you for adding your voice to those of other constituents.  Too bad there are no attendance policy rules for our elected representatives.

Posted by: Cari E Gradison | Apr 14, 2017 08:06

I too thank you for this editorial.  Meadows should be responsive to his constituents. Ironically I did support that he opposed the Obamacare repeal - perhaps for the wrong reasons but it helped on that first attacked on an important program for so many people.

Posted by: Ron Rookstool | Apr 14, 2017 08:32

Obviously he does not want to hear from his constituents in person.  He is trying to avoid any controversy. That is probably why he says he will have a townhall in August, hoping the dust has settled by then (assuming it has). Time will tell.

Posted by: Matt Ledbetter | Apr 14, 2017 10:57

I see where this is going. Rep. Meadows is not "skirting". He is not doing anything different than he has done in the past. He holds OPEN forums every year in August. I have been (if you're wandering). The call to do more forums is just to do what the rest of the hyper-sensitive nazicrats around the country are doing: become raucus and rowdy, and not really there for the right reasons.  And let's just suppose on the outside chance he is skirting: do you blame him. The democrat extreme machine is just going to push people to go and be disruptive. IS THAT WHAT YOU ARE CALLING FOR AND IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT AS A NEWSPAPER? (Would make for a good news story, huh?)You (the Mountaineer) didn't call on him to do these meetings when Obama-rama was in office.  Really, it's all about President Trump. I'll be happy to tell you MY story of how the failed Obamacare has financially hurt my family. But of course, you don't want to hear that. You don't want the real stuff, just the drama and eccentricity.

Posted by: Matt Ledbetter | Apr 14, 2017 10:58

PS, it's not his voting base calling for the forums, just the radical left!

Posted by: carolyn mull | Apr 16, 2017 06:21

I agree 100%  with Matt Ledbetter!

Posted by: carolyn mull | Apr 16, 2017 06:21

I agree 100%  with Matt Ledbetter!

Posted by: Ron Rookstool | Apr 16, 2017 09:58

Would love to hear your story Matt about how you were financially hurt by ACA.  But you must remember there are many more that were saved by ACA.

Posted by: Matt Ledbetter | Apr 18, 2017 10:55

So their "insurance salvation" is more important than my financial burden? That's the letter I received from the former president when I wrote to him. The churches where ministers like myself have served, have for decades been able to send insurance premiums on our behalf to make sure our families were covered. But one of the mandates of the Obamacare disaster is that those (church related or business related) who sent insurance premiums or offered healthcare reimbursement were no longer able to count it as a non-salary. Meaning that myself as well as every other minister of every religion or denomination lost that much needed tax break. So the $6000 that was being used for my family's insurance is now counted as taxable salary. That means an extra $1000 in taxes.  So I did what I never wanted to do, and checked to see about enrolling in VA healthcare. Through the help of Rep. Meadows offering the veteran's forums every summer, I was enrolled in the VA healthcare system.  However, seemingly, that extra $6000 that was now counted as salary put over the "means" threshold for eligibility in VA healthcare (They do an annual financial assessment). So guess what? In October I was kicked out of the VA. And then what did I have to do? Buy insurance. But my level of income keeps my family from receiving the "perk $" of Obamacare.

Now tell me with a straight face, that it's just my burden to bear so others can have something free or almost free!

Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Apr 19, 2017 12:56

Mr. Ledbetter;  You as a preacher should not have been allowed to deduct your insurance premiums to begin with. Had nothing to do with religious opinion. WE the people should not have had to be paying for your religious opinion whatsoever. YOU were living off of US! YOU were the "taker". If you are making more than what the subsidy allows than good for you. You can afford to pay for your own insurance. Don't mean you are paying for anyone else's. However as incomes go up those most able to must redistribute their income in support of "the least of US". That is OUR American Heritage.

Posted by: Matt Ledbetter | Apr 19, 2017 15:54

z-man. I thought you were dead. I've missed that caustic wit. Should've known YOU would have an opinion. Thank you once again for that communist rhetoric. Can't wait to see the other replies to your asinine ruse. "Pearls before swine" is reverberating in my head, sooooooo, adios.

Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Apr 22, 2017 11:06

And thank you Mr. Ledbetter for exposing yourself to the rest of US."The truth shall set you free".


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