LETTER: Technology is no substitute for in-person town halls

To the Editor:
The spring recess for the U.S. Congress is upon us and, unfortunately, Congressman Erik Paulsen continues to avoid holding any scheduled public events in his home district.

Instead, he insists on perpetuating the sham of robocalls and, on April 4, a Facebook live video event as a valid substitute for face-to-face constituent interaction.

By insisting on using technology as a buffer, he deprives himself and the citizens of the 3rd Congressional District of the experience of a meaningful, interactive discussion that includes exchanging stories and life experiences.

There is no online or telephonic event that can effectively take the place of an event where participants stand shoulder to shoulder in a public space getting to know one another. But Paulsen prefers to sit on one side of a digital wall that separates him from his constituents. For Paulsen, it is no doubt more comfortable to have voters sitting in the glow of their computer screens, or holding a phone to an ear, than it is to engage with voters face-to-face in civic discourse.

What Paulsen may not realize is that, in his absence, our community is coalescing around shared values and deep concerns about where the Trump Administration and Paulsen’s GOP party are leading this country.

Congressman Paulsen, you can run but, come Nov. 6, 2018, you cannot hide.

Heidi Strommen

  • I fully support Ms. Strommen’s idea. I just went to an actual in-person town hall, last night (not Congressman Paulsen’s, he hasn’t had any!). I sense much of the audience did not agree with the politicians’ perspective, but it was obvious that he could see that as well, and was starting to respond to it. People aired their opinions and even provided relevant facts and information to support them, and everyone in the room walked away smarter, and, I think, with a sense of having participated in democracy.

  • annie55441

    No employer would permit an employee to work for more than 5 years without reporting in and getting feedback on their performance. We the people are Representative Paulsen’s employers and expect his report and for him to listen to our feedback in an open forum and not from behind the accurately described above “digital wall.”