Helena, Mont. – Sen. Steve Daines spoke at an RSVP-only, pay-to-get-in luncheon in Missoula yesterday, in sharp contrast to Sen. Jon Tester, who answered questions from Montanans in a face-to-face public town hall in Great Falls today.
Tester has held four town halls this year alone, while Daines and Montana’s lone congressman and Republican candidate for governor Greg Gianforte have shied away from meeting with Montanans in public settings. Daines and Gianforte have instead opted to hold either tele-town halls with screened questions or invite-only roundtables or events.
In-person town halls allow constituents to hold their members of Congress and other elected representatives accountable by having open discussions in public.
But last year, Daines called face-to-face town halls with Montanans “big protests” instead of “civil discourse.”
“Public, face-to-face town halls give Montanans the chance to make sure their representatives are working for them, not for special interests or wealthy Washington, D.C. lobbyists,” said Montana Democratic Party Executive Director Monica Lindeen. “Yet only one member of Montana’s federal delegation actually takes the time to speak with his constituents in public, face-to-face town halls. Montanans deserve representatives who have the courage to answer our questions, not hide from the very people they’re supposed to represent.”
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