Last week I wrote an opinion piece challenging Senator Sherrod Brown to come to Butler County and hear the voices of the people he is supposed to be representing. It has been over two years since he has visited this county. As far as my research has found he has never held a public forum here. My challenge to the Senator is, as of yet, unanswered but he is getting closer.
After prodding from many sides Sen. Brown has announced a public forum to be held at The University of Cincinnati on September 1st at 10:30 AM. Members of his staff had earlier stated that they were not going to do any town halls. Video shot at his unannounced event on another college campus, Ohio State which was filled by students and supporters, show this to be true. This video can be seen on the website www.hotair.com
When I see an ultraliberal politician run for the cover of a college campus it sends up all sorts of warning flags on how “public” this public forum will be. He has chosen a venue on campus with a rather small capacity (880 seats) with a limited number of entrances which tells me his people will try to control who get in to question the Senator. Secondly, there is a short time limit of 1 ½ hours and there are some people “scheduled” to tell their health care horror stories. I have a feeling this will take the bulk of the time.
Other liberal politicians around the country have hosted alleged “public” forums and then limited access to the meeting by bussing in ACORN members, union members, and other supporters and crowding out conservative voices.
With these things in mind I called and wrote the Senators office and asked to be credentialed to cover the event. My request was denied by phone by John Billington who described himself as the Senator’s “Healthcare Policy Fellow.”
Mr. Billington told me there were no media being invited or credentialed for the forum. I found this a little hard to believe so I asked Mr. Billington, “If the anchor of 12 news shows with a camera crew he will be asked to stand in line for admittance?”
Mr. Billington’s answer, “Yes. That is my understanding.”
Mr. Billington further stated that the meeting would be, “open to the public and it is the intent of Senator Brown’s office that no preference be given in admission.”
I asked if the seating would be first come first served and again Mr. Billington answered, “Yes. That is my understanding.” We shall see.
I will be attending the forum and ask that concerned citizens of Butler County, of all political views, join me. My invitation to the Senator still stands, I think Butler is too large and its voters too important to be ignored by a man who is supposed to be working for all of us.