Today I attended a town hall with Senator Joni Ernst. This one was held at Sheslow Auditorium at Drake University. I am far from a political activist, but I am trying to be a good citizen. I am trying to be well informed, to research and verify stories, and to stand up and be counted. That all sounds pretty good when I think about doing these things a week or two before the event, but I often want to forget the whole thing when the actual time comes. This time I went!
I am very grateful for the people who stood up to ask questions. Almost all were well thought out, and well spoken. Most speakers used data and research to support their questions and positions. Almost all were about important issues that are on most people's minds these days. Some used humor to lighten the mood. All, but one were respectful. Unfortunately, Senator Ernst sidestepped most of these questions, and was vague about others.
I was grateful to see how many people came out to this event held during spring break on a mostly empty college campus, at 5:00 on a Friday, which also happened to be St. Patrick's Day. It was a full house. The auditorium was full of people of a variety of ages and varied experiences.
I went because I wanted to hear how Senator Ernst responded to the issues. Mostly I went because I want our representatives to know that whatever they do, they are accountable to their constituents.
Along with occasionally attending events like this, I am disciplining myself to express my views and concerns to my representatives. I discovered a website/app called Countable that is helping me to do that. It lets me know what issues are up for votes during the week. It also lets me know how my representatives voted. The thing I like best is that you can put in your zip code to find out who your representatives are. Then you can write an email that goes to all those representatives, two senators and congressman. At first I was skeptical, but I have received responses from all three of my representatives. I am looking at what I can and actually WILL DO to make myself heard. If you are interested, I suggest you check out Countable to see if it works for you. https://www.countable.us/
This week I wrote to my representatives about my concerns about the American Health Care Act and I attended this town hall meeting. I am pretty darned proud of myself! This is what democracy is all about!