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Congressmen Should Show Up and Listen to Constituents

Former Vice President Joe Biden has been known to say that the people do not expect the government to solve their problems. They just want their government to understand. Biden served in the U.S. Senate for 40 years and was beloved on a bipartisan basis with longtime friends from across the aisle, such as GOP lions Robert Dole, the 1996 GOP presidential candidate, and John McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential candidate.

I am not an active member of Indivisible Georgia District 10. However, I am a moderate Democrat and a concerned citizen in this climate of tribalism and division. I’m also politically active. For example, when the health care law was threatened with repeal, I called the offices of Jody Hice, David Perdue and Johnny Isakson daily for weeks, along with sending several emails. I did this on my own, as a citizen of a democracy exercising my right to petition my elected officials with my grievances. In other words, I had no affiliation with any particular political group.

Liam Watson stated in his May 2 letter that he celebrates a thorough study of the issues from many perspectives and bipartisanship. I share that view. However, I beg to differ with his statements criticizing the progressive agenda of the Indivisible group. I also beg to differ with his claim that his candidate, Joe Hunt, understands the importance of representing all of the citizens of District 10, for, I would like to point out, the citizens of Indivisible District 10 are also the constituents represented by the elected congressperson responsible for representing everyone in this district, in spite of their differing views. It would have shown the voters that Hunt truly wants to hear and understand all of his constituents, as described by Biden, had he attended one of Indivisible District 10’s meetings. I was informed that Hunt’s true reason for not attending that meeting was to avoid angering his Republican donors. If that is false, then I invite Hunt to speak with Indivisible Georgia District 10 constituents in good faith should he secure the GOP nomination in the May 22 primary. I imagine it is too late to do so before that time.

Again, I am writing this not as a member of Indivisible Georgia District 10, but as someone who was disheartened that Hunt did not participate in the recent debate with the Democratic candidates and Bradley Griffin. [Editor’s note: Hunt says he was not notified of the Apr. 16 forum at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church until the day of the event.] Notably, Hice also did not participate in that debate, but I was very disappointed about Hunt’s absence specifically, because I was excited when he announced his run for office as a challenger for Hice, who has been an absolute failure at representing his full constituency in this district, as demonstrated by his refusal to not only initiate town hall meetings, but also by his absence at a town hall meeting at the ACC Library last year arranged by one of the local organizations in Athens that is part of District 10.

If Watson or Hunt were to ask the members of Indivisible Georgia District 10 what is most important to them in a U.S. Congressperson, my guess would be that it would align with my own gripe with Hice and my concern about Hunt’s pre-election behavior: not showing up. Woody Allen once said that “90 percent of life is showing up.” If Hunt continues to avoid constituents whose agendas and views do not align with his own or the president’s, then I have to assume he is not sincere in his claim to represent all of this district on a bipartisan basis by listening to all of the people, in person, when invited.  

No one expects a congressperson to vote a certain way. None of us who is politically active is so naive. But we do expect him or her to show up, to listen and to treat us and the taxpayer’s money with the respect we deserve. That is a healthy democracy.

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