And so the first congressional break came to a close and not one of Maine’s federal representatives held a town hall meeting for their constituents. Calls last Friday to the local offices of Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins and Reps. Bruce Poliquin and Chellie Pingree yielded no substantive or reasoned excuse for this – simply “we don’t generally do town hall meetings.”

When asked if there had been calls, emails, letters and visits from constituents requesting such meetings, I was told “yes,” but that the need to meet that demand was not a priority as there is no history of holding them.

The roughly 55 percent of Mainers who did not vote for the current administration, who are watching with alarm as the basic tenets of our democracy are placed at risk, who are increasingly aware of the corrupt and dangerous regime now in power, who are genuinely fearful and who have organized in unprecedented ways to express overwhelming resistance to the hateful agenda taking shape, have no “history” either with this national crisis we are immersed in.

These are unsettling, unfamiliar, abnormal times, requiring our federal representatives to employ different, nontraditional approaches to meeting the needs of the people. If town hall meetings were not part of the leadership playbook of our senators and representatives before Nov. 9, 2016, they should realize it’s now a whole new ballgame.

It’s an engaged and enlightened citizenry now, whether they like it or not. We, the people, are not just asking for your presence at meetings to discuss our expectations of you, express our opinions, hear yours and understand and influence your positions – we’re demanding it. You work for us. Town hall meetings are part of the service to the public you owe us. It’s your job. Do it.

To quote the woman for whom I cast my vote for president last November: “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the … Congress.”

Michele Meyer


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