It can be awfully difficult figuring out where your congressman stands on the issues, especially if your congressman is Rep. Dave Reichert. Partially it’s the rambling inarticulations he passes off as oratory, and partially it’s because he tends to avoid any forum where he may be forced to address complex issues unscripted.
So it comes as no surprise that Reichert’s campaign has just announced that he will be a no-show at next week’s “A Conversation With Your Congressman” (singular) hosted by the Washington State Alliance for Retired Americans. Both Reichert and Rep. Jay Inslee were invited to take questions on four issues: the Medicare Part D prescription drug program, offshore outsourcing of American jobs, the Employee Free Choice Act labor law reform, and the estate tax. Only Inslee will be there to provide answers.
It’s a shame really, because this sounds like it would have been a wonderful opportunity for constituents to engage their representatives on these important issues, in a relatively nonpartisan setting.
This is not intended to be a political debate. In fact, this forum very deliberately seeks to avoid that, which is why election opponents were not invited. Each issue will be briefly summarized by experts on that topic, audience members will describe their personal experiences on the issue, and the congressmen will explain their positions and answer audience questions.
The format is intended to create an opportunity for our elected U.S. Representatives to listen to their constituents’ concerns, describe where they stand on important issues in a clear and substantive way, and respond directly to citizens’ questions — all outside the politically charged environment of an election debate.
Ah well. But then, we all know that Reichert is a coward. Either he’s afraid that he won’t be able to answer the questions, or he’s afraid that voters won’t like what they hear if he somehow manages to articulate his positions without resorting to a meandering anecdote about the Green River Killer.
If those of you in the 8th District are curious as to what it’s like to be represented by a congressman who’s not afraid to be confronted by his own constituents, go watch Rep. Inslee in action next Thursday, July 6, 6:30 pm at the North Bellevue Community Center, 4063 148th AVE. NE. Or elect Darcy Burner and find out what it’s like to have a smart, articulate, courageous representative, every day of the week.