By Derek Dufresne:
For as long as most of us can remember, our elected officials, regardless of political party, have made themselves available to their constituents by hosting Town Hall meetings. Next to our autumn foliage, nothing is more 'New England' than a lawmaker discussing the important issues inside one of our many historic meetinghouses.
Putting aside the nostalgia, Town Hall meetings are a crucial way for our elected officials to report back to us on what they've been doing in Washington. More importantly, it is also the most direct way for them to hear from their constituents. Here in New Hampshire, we've especially grown accustom to our two Members of Congress hosting multiple Town Hall meetings when they are on recesses. Sadly, that tradition's future looks pretty bleak. In fact, if Congresswoman Annie Kuster's (NH-02) first term is any indication of where our New Hampshire Town Hall custom is headed, it is already on life support.
However, when Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire's Executive Director, Matthew Murphy, a US Army veteran, tried to attend, he was met with fierce resistance from Senator Shaheen's staff. Despite being a veteran himself, he was told he was not welcome to hear her thoughts on the issue unless he was there to 'endorse' the senator.