Lyons Mayor Connie Sullivan welcomed fifty or sixty area residents to a “Town Hall” Q & A with elected officials from the county, state, and national levels at the Wildflower Pavilion at Planet Bluegrass Sunday afternoon (April 9). On hand with Sullivan to field questions from the public were Boulder County Commissioner Deb Gardner, District 11 State Representative Jonathan Singer, District 18 State Senator Steve Fenberg, and Second District U.S. House of
Representative Jared Polis.
If Republican U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (no relation to Deb) had been on the stage (don't know whether or not he was invited) there might have been some fireworks like we have seen on the various news shows of late. But since the crowd appeared to be of a “blue/liberal/democrat” leaning, and ditto the elected officials, it was a “cordial” affair for the most part. The first and last questioners did get a little feisty, but decorum was maintained and no insults were hurled.
Each official got about ten minutes to introduce themselves, and touch on various topics and issues that they were working in their respective legislative sessions, and then the public got a chance to ask questions. These ranged from questions about the attempted “repeal and replace” of the Affordable Care Act on a national level for Polis, to local concerns for Gardner (Deb) about fire mitigation by removal of beetle killed trees, and recreational shooting ranges. Singer and Fenberg fielded questions about the repeal of TABOR, the potential of defunding of rural hospitals, and the management of public employee pension funds. When Polis was asked what concerned citizens could do about the goings on in Washington D.C. under the current administration moving forward, he advised, “call, send emails and faxes, attend town halls, and/or visit the regional offices of your elected officials (in Lyons case that would be Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner, as well as Polis himself). Interestingly, Polis wasn't a big fan of written letters. He said since the anthrax scare a few years ago, all letters to Washington politicians go to a central clearing house in Virginia to be opened (presumedly by interns or inmates), and therefore could take a couple of weeks to get to the addressee (post cards are a better option, since they don't have to be opened). He also advised against contacting elected officials outside of one's voting district, indicating that elected officials weren't too likely to listen to a citizen who couldn't vote for/against them. In all, over a dozen citizens posed questions.
A big thank-you goes out to Tamara Haddad for organizing this event.