CULPEPER STAR EXPONENT, ALLISON BROPHY CHAMPION
The Town Hall Project recently named U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-7, a “Standout Freshman” for hosting 18 public events in 2019.
The local congresswoman, in fact, came in No. 14 of 435 total members of the U.S. Representatives for holding the most town hall meetings last year, according to Town Hall Project. The organization is a Washington, D.C.-based progressive activist group formed in 2017 to build a public database of all congressional public events.
U.S. Rep. Ben Cline, R-6, of Virginia was also recognized for holding 16 town hall meetings in 2019.
Locally, Spanberger—first elected in 2018—held town hall meetings July 30 at Culpeper County High School and on Sept. 15 at the Orange County location of Germanna Community College. In all in 2019, the Congresswoman held 12 town halls, four public events over coffee, a prescription drug cost forum and a rural broadband summit.
Spanberger said it was a top priority during her first term in office to engage in direct conversations with the people of the 7th District, spanning Culpeper in the north to Richmond in the south. In a statement, she thanked Town Hall Project “for recognizing the clear merits of holding open discussions with constituents.”
Spanberger added, “Together, we understand the importance of hearing directly from our bosses—the American people. I’m proud to be part of a greater push to increase transparency and accountability among our elected officials.”
She said she looked forward to hearing more from her constituents in 2020.
“Open conversations with the people I serve is essential and I’ll continue seeking out opportunities to listen, answer questions and engage,” Spanberger posted Thursday on Facebook. Her office reported Thursday that a town hall is being planned in the 7th District in February.
According to Town Hall Project, there were 2,695 public meetings hosted by members of Congress last year across the country—up from 1,096 in 2018.
Among the U.S. Senate, Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican, held the most town halls in 2019 with 73. Rep. Roger Marshall, also a Kansas Republican, held the most among House members last year with 63, according to Town Hall Project.
“Missing members,” those members of Congress who hosted no public meetings last year, included Senator Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat, and Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas.
U.S. Senator Mark Warner, D-Virginia, held three town halls last year, according to the group. The Town Hall Project Facebook page profile picture reads, “DO YOUR JOB,” over an image of the Capitol Building.