For years this column has been pleading with Republican elected officials and candidates to do a much better and more thorough job of engaging the public. Too few of them go beyond shallow mail, TV, or radio advertisements, and once elected, the non-effectiveness of their fake outreach can be measured in opinion polls.
Last Wednesday evening I attended 8th congressional district candidate Joe Walsh’s Health Care forum and saw one perfect example of how positive engagement can be accomplished. It was a terrific event; the panelists all presented valuable information and the audience participated with excellent comments and questions.
While the attendance at last Wednesday’s forum was relatively low (less than 50?), reports from previous forums were in the ballpark of 80 people, with the largest topping out at about 150.
Here is how the event was billed:
Health Care Town Hall Meeting
Do You Really Know What’s in the New Health Care Legislation?
How will your insurance change?
What will become of Medicare Advantage?
Are the death panels really gone?
Who will pay the $569.2 billion in new taxes to fund the bill?
If you are looking for answers about the new Health Care Legislation, then please join 8th District Republican Congressional nominee Joe Walsh and a panel of health care experts for a FREE public town hall meeting. The panel will discuss the federal takeover of health care and how the new law will affect you and your family.
An opportunity to meet Joe Walsh will start at 6:15 PM; the Town Hall Meeting will start at 7:00 PM. An audience Question & Answer session will follow panelist presentations.
Date: Wednesday, Aug 4th
Time: 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Place: Prairie Center for the Arts
201 Schaumburg Court
Schaumburg, IL 60193
Dr. James P. Brown , Urologist, Associates in Urology Ltd.
Peter Fotos, Director of Government Relations, The Heartland Institute
C. Steven Tucker, Insurance Broker & Subject Matter Expert for The Wall Street Journal & Fortune Magazine
Joe Walsh, a policy advocate, teacher, entrepreneur and Candidate for Congress
Holding one-issue forums, of course, isn’t the only thing our would-be leaders must do. From what I understand, Joe Walsh and his campaign are doing an unusually large amount of outreach – especially door to door. The truth is, door to door isn’t utilized that often in congressional campaigns. Many campaigns pretend to, but most candidates at that level instead rely heavily on direct mail, phone calls, and when possible, radio and TV advertising.
Like any discussion of a law this big – any column or series of columns can only summarize its potential and expected impact. What was great about the forum was that it gave citizens not only a chance to hear from experts, but to question those experts as well.
Up next: Part 2.