DC residents: You have no vote in the House of Representatives. You have no vote in the Senate. You have no official say on how the health care insurance system will be reformed. You are second class citizens, according to Congress, because you live in the home of the federal government. But fortunately your Congresswoman, Eleanor Holmes Norton, doesn’t let that lack of a vote stop her from reaching out to constituents or trying to influence her fellow members on these incredibly important decisions. Last night Norton held a “Fact Check” town hall meeting in the auditorium of the Department of Commerce on 14th and Constitution NW. With between 200-250 people in attendance, about half of the capacity of the venue, the event was focused on answering constituent questions with a panel of medical and insurance experts and did not include long speeches.
Before turning it over for constituent stories and questions, Norton opened up the evening with a 15 minute statement about how the event would be run, which included her saying that DC residents are “The most civil people in the United States.” I initially thought this was simply wishful thinking, but after the next two hours went by without a single person yelling, screaming or insulting anyone, I’ll have to agree with the Congresswoman on this one. At least from the perspective of a town hall meeting on the lightning rod issue that is health care reform; especially after covering the Rep. Moran (D-VA) town hall event a few weeks ago. Now the event was held in a federal building with very tight security and more armed police and federal agents than you could count surrounding the area, only those living in the District were able to attend, and signs were not permitted at all past the door, but it still was a very positive representation of political civility by attendees and should make all DC residents proud.