This election season, it is time to really hear what our candidates have to say, and publically. You cannot assume that an endorsed Republican supports Trump and you cannot assume that the endorsed Democrat will take your guns.
Therefore, attending public town hall meetings is important and reading public messages on social media platforms is important. The problem is, even during COVID-19 (when meeting face-to-face is discouraged) it’s hard to find online public events for some of the candidates.
I run a small Facebook group for my neighbors and routinely send my group invitations to online town hall meetings, where they can speak to the candidate and ask questions, or stay silent and just listen. Gretchen Piper (candidate for Senate District 33) has listening sessions quite often and they’re very easy to attend, just “like” her Facebook page to see her schedule. She wants to listen to what her people want and make sure they are represented.
Her opponent, the current incumbent David Osmek has the Facebook banner “I’m here for you!” but he does not post any community events. When I contacted him to request a public meeting, he does not respond.
As for the House, Dr. Kelly Morrison (current incumbent district 33B) had multiple town hall meetings at multiple locations during her term. I attended a few of them and regardless of political affiliation, she listened to everyone who came and discussed the issues with them.
Andrew Myers (who is opposing Dr. Morrison) is very active on social media, but if you ask him a question in the comments, he either does not respond, or responds privately. I have asked him for a public town hall event, which he said he would contact me if they do something. You can attend fundraiser events, but I do not believe I should have to pay to hear from a candidate.
Addie Miller, running for State Senate District 47, is the most accessible of all the candidates with her Sunday Facebook live town halls, where you can ask her questions and comment in the chat. Her opponent, Julia Coleman, is hosting fundraisers where the public is invited.
So, I want to encourage all the candidates to have public, online town hall meetings. Give us the opportunity to share our views and listen to yours. Let us know that when you represent us, you will not be a black hole, but will be a light that we can go to when times seem dark.