Sunday, July 22, 2007

The tale of two members of Congress: Teleconferences vs. Office Hours

The conversation Democrats and others in the 6th CD had with Congressman Tim Walz yesterday left me wondering why we never see Congresswoman Bachmann doing townhall forums and other sorts of constituent outreach.

Take a look at what Congressman Walz is doing down in the Fighting 1st!

The Congressman held office hours yesterday in Mankato. From noon til 2, and I would be willing to bet, probably later, the Congressman met with anyone and everyone who wanted to ask him a question, regardless of the subject.

He hosted a Veterans Affairs meeting with Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif in Rochester.

He hosted an economic summit in Austin this past Friday, covering issues around health care, transportation, education, renewable energy/farm policy and other issues.

Check out the great set of panels set up for this event!

He also had public listening sessions on July 5th and 6th, all across the Fighting 1st.

For more, check out Bluestem Prairie!

And what has Congresswoman Bachmann done for her constituents?

We got a teleconference on June 27th.

Bachmann took a few minutes to answer questions on "No Child Left Behind" and tax increases.

(MB) “ Yes, there's absolutely truth to that. Um,I'm glad that you brought that up because and again, I don't fee lthat to be partisan at all, all I'm doing, and I don't think you are either, we're just giving facts out. The new Democrat majority has proposed the largest tax increase in American history together with the largest spending increase in American history. And what that means is all of the growth and the gains that we've had for about the last, oh I would say, we've had tax cuts in oh-one and oh-two and oh-three and since that time over 8 million jobs have been created in the private sector, the stock market has been through the roof, um, you know, some industries aren't fairing as well right now. For instance the construction industry, um, houses aren't moving real fast, but over all there's pretty low unemployment, and uh, the economy has really been humming. We're gonna lose a lot of that prosperity I'm afraid, if we raise taxes to a really high level. That would be kind of scary and I oppose that. So I've been working very hard um to make sure we bring taxes down not up so I- I just want to thank you it, it is so wonderful that you have all been calling here this evening and uh right now I'm, I'm here in my office and, uh, I'm sorry to have to end this call so soon. I have to go now, there's this call, and vote, for me it's across the street - go over to the capitol and do some votes.

I just want you to know, before you hang up now, that I'm talking to you live here from Washington. I'm going to oppose this illegal immigration amnesty bill, you can count on that. You can also count on the fact that I am going to oppose increasing your taxes.

Interesting. Was she insinuating that she was going across the street to vote on the Amnesty Bill? In fact, the Senate was voting on the bill at this time.

Secondly, the largest tax increase ever? Really? Here is what has to say about that.

The Democrats are correct in saying that their budget does not envision any tax
increases – compared with current law. However, Bush’s tax cuts include a “sunset provision” stipulating that they expire after a set time period. The major 2001 and 2003 tax reductions are set to expire in 2011. If the Democrats take no action, taxes automatically revert to pre-2001 levels. It’s a question philosophy majors could spend hours discussing: If you fail to prevent something, are you therefore causing it? It is worth noting that the sunset provisions were devised by Republicans who wanted to make their 2001 and 2003 cuts appear less expensive and who gambled that they would eventually be able to make them permanent.
With Bachmann, it's all spin and no truth.

So, teleconferences heh. Really? Is that how we want our member of Congress to communicate with us?

John Kline seems to favor these things as well, although he even recanted and had an "open forum". Although I am not sure how open it really was.

If used properly, teleconferences can bring thousands of people together at one time in a positive free exchange of ideas. However, they also have the ability to screen every question and caller as well. They can include or exclude individuals at any time.

The real question is how will the Congresswoman reach out to her constituents? Thus far, she could use a lesson from Congressman Walz, who has reached out in an inclusive manner to those in the Fighting 1st.

Will we ever have an open forum where we can ask Bachmann the tough question?

Will she have office hours?

Constituent outreach is something Congressman Walz takes very seriously and it shows. For Congresswoman Bachmann, it shows that she simply does not care.

Or could it be her work ethic? Some will cite her work ethic in the Minnesota Senate as cause for concern. Walz serves on the House Agriculture Committee, Veterans Affairs Committee, and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.


She simply serves on the Financial Services Committee, her only committee assignment.

Despite having 1/3 the committee assignments of Congressman Walz, she spends considerably less time on constituent outreach. You'd think it would be the complete opposite of that.

Yesterday, people in the 6th CD witnessed a truly genuine leader at his finest!

It's time to lift the bar off the ground and set it a bit higher for Congresswoman Bachmann!

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