Email #221: Zero of 173

So far this year, Republican members of Congress have held a total of 173 town halls. 99 of them were held by House Republicans. Of Virginia’s 11 Representatives, only two have not held town halls in 2017: Barbara Comstock and you. Virginia Republican Reps. Dave Brat, Rob Whitman, Morgan Griffith, Scott Taylor, and Tom Garrett have all faced their constituents. Why haven’t you?

You said you would hold a town hall if it was “conducive to conversation,” and that is exactly what I proposed to your DC chief of staff. Ours would be held in Lexington and open only to residents—not anyone from district 6 but only those who live within Rockbridge county. I also proposed keeping the event small, giving out only 100 tickets in advance. I even proposed that the tickets would be equally distributed between Republicans and Democrats through local organizations. And anyone who received a ticket would agree to listen respectfully to you with no booing or other disruptions.

This format is tailored to you, and yet you still have not responded to the request. Was your “conducive to conversation” requirement sincere, or was it yet another way of putting off an obligation you have no intention of ever fulfilling? If so, would you please stop misleading your constituents and admit that you will under no circumstances hold a town hall? If you have to be a coward, you could at least be an honest one.

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Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an assistant professor of English at Washington and Lee University where he teaches creative writing, contemporary fiction, and comics. He has published two novels, Pretend I'm Not Here (HarperCollins 2002) and School For Tricksters (Southern Methodist University 2011), and two nonfictions, On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa University 2015) and Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury forthcoming 2017).

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