Town Hall meetings should continue

If you would like to see Rep. Tom Reed in person, you’re in luck. Reed will be making four stops on Saturday across the district.

Two stops will be in Chautauqua County — at the North Harmony Senior Citizens Center at 9:15 a.m. and at the Pine Valley VFW Post #2522 in Cherry Creek at 11:30 a.m.

Some Republican members of Congress appear to be reluctant to meet with the general public following Donald Trump election and swearing in.

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Republican who represents constituents in Northern New York, took to Facebook late Tuesday to write a 500-plus-word post which criticized some of her constituents that protested at her town hall meetings. She dubbed them “small special interests” but has yet to announce any further town hall meetings.

U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, who represents much of Erie County outside of the city of Buffalo, called town hall meetings “useless” and said he will never hold one again.

“Because what you get are demonstrators who come and shout you down and heckle you,” Collins said to WGRZ-TV. “They are not what you hope they would be, which is a give and take from people actually interested in getting some facts.”

Meanwhile, with Reed’s announcement, he stated, “We choose to hold town halls because we believe in accessible government and being responsive to the constituents we serve. We support the First Amendment and know that different opinions are part of our democracy and look forward to a respectful conversation. I have held more than 200 town halls since being elected, including all counties I represent and we will again hold town halls in all 11 counties this year.”

We’re glad Reed is willing to have town hall meetings. As long as they are safe, there is no reason any politician should not be willing to hold them.