To the Editor:
Amazing! Rep. Erik Paulsen has made 226 classroom visits to schools within the Third District! Although this is endearing, it would be more beneficial if Paulsen made the same number of in person contacts with his constituents.
According to a recent Star Tribune article, Paulsen’s staff said that Paulsen had, “held more than 100 in-person town halls, telephone town halls, and “Congress on Your Corner” events.”
After checking Rep. Paulsen’s newsletter archives that go back to the middle of 2012, I could find no mention of an in person town hall. I did find 11 telephone town hall meetings, and 16 “Congress on Your Corner” events, where he meets with constituent at a district grocery store. I also checked Representative Paulsen’s Facebook site for photos of “Congress on Your Corner” events. There were a number of photos, but only 16 distinct events.
To be fair, Rep. Paulsen may not have included information about all of his events.
However, this contact is obviously important to Rep. Paulsen. In the AARP Minnesota Bulletin from March 17 there is an article entitled, “Key to Advocacy: One-On-One Talks.”
According to Rep. Paulsen, “It is the constituents who visit his office, show up at one of his “Congress on Your Corner” events, or send handwritten letters who have the most impact.”
Not everyone can take off work during the day to meet with Rep. Paulsen. One constituent on Facebook said to Paulsen,” It would be great if you held these at night and advertised more than an hour ahead.” Another posting said, “Sorry I missed this. I don’t know if it was posted elsewhere prior to this giving notice. I certainly assume so.”
In a classroom or school assembly students may raise their hands, get called on, and ask the questions they want answered. Surely the voters of the Third District deserve the same opportunity.
So, persist. Write Rep. Paulsen a letter or an email. Insist that Rep. Paulsen hold in-person town hall meetings, and “Congress on Your Corner” events in the evenings and post the events in the local papers, and on his website to achieve the greatest participation.