Wednesday Congresswoman Niki Tsongas came to the Fitchburg Public Library for her first event in Fitchburg since being sworn in as the representative in congress for the 3rd district.
The event: “Congress on your Corner” consisted of one on one (or two on one) meetings with various constituents from the district.
The format was surprise to most of the people who arrived expecting a town hall-style event. At least one person who came decided to leave thinking the format was not conducive the type of open public debate she was looking for.
Personally I think the one on one setup is a good idea. Most people don’t get a chance to meet their representative in congress let alone get private time face to face.
The event was announced through robo-calls (I received one myself), through the local paper. and via her site. I arrived about 30 minutes early and only a handful of people were waiting but by the time Congresswoman Tsongas arrived the crowd continued to grow until it was well over 35.
Congresswoman Tsongas met the local pols en mass near the start She commented those meetings are important because “…they are tasked with managing the affairs of the community.”
Due to the number of people there about 3 minutes were allocated per person (or pair who choose to go in together) but even with a short period of time the I think it’s a good thing for voters to meet their member of congress one on one.
Local republicans were well represented. A regular guest to my show Mary Lotz had some time with the congresswoman and was unimpressed
People had different agendas, the Local Imam Bashir Uddin Mehmud & his son came to introduce himself and the local Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to the congresswoman while Robert Landry had a question concerning film-making in Devens. Both were interested in a local congressional office in the city.
The Press was well represented, the Worcester Telegram and the Sentinel & Enterprise were both there talking to both voters and Congresswoman Tsongas. When the event was over the Congresswoman gave me a few minutes of her time.
She did say she would be doing town halls both standard and electronic.
Her aides were very cooperative (one is a HUGE Dr. Who fan) and the Congresswoman took some time to speak to me as she left. As one of her constituents I stressed cutting spending first on the budget.
I’m sure over the next two years we will be disagreeing a lot and I’ll be calling her on those disagreements but as for this event, I think it was a proper use of her time. There is no more important thing a member of congress can do than meet with the people who elect them.