During August recess, the answer seems to be ‘not much.’
While the U.S. Congress is on recess in August, most Representatives hold town halls and other public events where constituents can meet with them in their home districts. That doesn’t seem to be the case with Representative Kerry Bentivolio — unless you can afford to buy a ticket to a high-priced fundraiser like the one held last week.
A few days ago, I was told that a number of people had called Rep. Bentivolio’s district office to inquire about constituent meetings. The office told them he was not holding any events open to the public. Reportedly, these callers were told the Congressman was only meeting with groups such as business owners, business groups and small Republican clubs. There are no public events listed on his website.
Being a constituent myself, I called his office today to ask if there would be any town halls or other opportunities for constituents to meet with the Congressman. The person who answered the phone told me there were “some events in the planning stages for this month.” I was told the Congressman would be holding multiple events on various issues and if I would provide my email address and issues I’d like to discuss, I’d be informed of relevant events. I did so and will report back if I hear anything.
But seriously, it’s August 16. There isn’t much time left this month to arrange, publicize and host events. I’m not holding my breath.
Also, when reviewing the Congressman’s website, I noticed it no longer emphasizes his commitment to listening to the voice of constituents, as it did when he was first elected. It seems pretty clear that’s no longer a priority — especially if, like me, you disagree with his extremist views such as defunding Obamacare.
Or perhaps someone on his staff is paying attention and realized the Congressman’s refusal to meet with constituents is quickly gaining notice.
Yesterday, Michigan seniors launched “Congressman Kerry Bentivolio’s Medicare Voucher Booth.” It was set up near Rep. Bentivolio’s mobile constituent services office in Clawson so that voters could learn about his real plans to end the guarantee of Medicare.
Mike Smith, a resident of Clawson, had this to say:
We’re here because Congressman Bentivolio is throwing seniors in this community under the bus. He’s voted with Tea Party Republicans to turn Medicare into a voucher system time and time again. Since he’s not holding any meetings with constituents, this is our way to let him know that we’re watching him and holding him accountable.
The Michigan Democratic Party is planning upcoming activities to make sure the voices of constituents are heard — whether Congressman Bentivolio wants to hear them or not. Stay tuned for details.
You can also make yourself heard via the Congressman’s website.
If Rep. Bentivolio won’t listen to all of his constituents, he doesn’t deserve to represent any of Michigan’s citizens in Congress.