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Three NM Democrats skipping town hall meetings

By   /   August 15, 2011  /   No Comments

The Associated Press ran a story about how three of the five representatives from the New Mexico delegation on Capitol Hill will not take part in any town hall meetings with consituents while on congressional recess.

All three of the legislators are Democrats — Rep. Martin Heinrich, Sen. Tom Udall and Sen. Jeff Bingaman.

From the AP article:

Udall and Heinrich, who is running to replace the retiring Bingaman, say they

are instead focused on the economy and jobs.

“I think the most important thing we can be doing right now is coming up with

a plan for job creation and economic development,” Udall said this week when

asked after a field hearing on drunken driving why he wasn’t planning any public

forums to talk to constituents about the recent debt debacle. “We need to

realize that people want us to get out of the deficit. The way to do that is to

… create jobs.”

He said many of those meetings will be “quasi-public events.”

A spokeswoman for Heinrich said he will spend his break meeting with

companies and their employees and hosting a summer job fair. He will also be

conducting a telephone town hall, which she said can reach a much larger

audience at once than face-to-face meetings.

I wonder: If you show up at one of Udall’s “quasi-public events” what kind of quasi-credentials do you need to produce to demonstrate you are a quasi-member of the public?

Anyway, Republican congressman Rep. Steve Pearce is taking part in town hall events (even if he sometimes catches flack from constituents) and Democratic congressman Rep. Ben Ray Luján is planning “Conversations with Ben Ray” across the district throughout the month, his office said.

As you might expect, the state Republican Party is needling the Democrats who decided to skip the townhalls and singled out Heinrich:

“Congressman Heinrich is out of touch with the values of hard working New Mexico families. It is time for real leaders who show up for New Mexico voters, not dollars. New Mexico deserves an authentic voice and an open ear in the U.S. Senate not a politician who can’t make time for his constituents.”

 

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Since 2010, Rob Nikolewski has covered New Mexico politics and investigated fraud, waste and abuse in government. He also writes an opinion column in the Sunday editions of the Santa Fe New Mexican. Rob joined New Mexico Watchdog after 20 years in television as a sports anchor and reporter. He anchored at MSNBC, New York City, Boston, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Reno and Boise, winning three regional Emmy awards along the way. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, a master's in public administration from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and a bachelor's degree in journalism from Trinity University in San Antonio.

  • Jim Scarantino

    How many of these small men will be holding fundraisers, where they will not hesitate to meet face to face with people who give them money?

  • http://www.meetup.com/UnitedCommunities/ Paul White

    Before pushing through legislation for the Aamodt Settlement, Bingaman, Udall and Ben Ray Lujan all refused to host town hall public meetings. I know because I’m the scheduler for the PBWA and I made numerous requests of all three. Ex Santa Fe County Commissioner Harry Montoya also refused to hold town hall meetings. It was only after the County did a poll (which was after they approved Aamodt and the poll showed few approved the settlement and few would voluntarily hook up to the proposed systetme) that the County hosted “informational” only meetings.

    Aamodt will cost State Taxpayers a minimum of $62 million. Richardson refused entirely to meet with his constituents in the Aamodt area before approving the settlement.

    Santa Fe County taxpayers are on the hook for about $400 million. This is one of the least reported stories that will have the largest impact on taxpayers.

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