Congressman Mike Bost claims he can’t have public town hall meetings because of organizations he claims “ship protestors in from out of state.” Well, I’m not from out of state, and I’m not a protestor. I’m a lifelong resident of Illinois’ 12th Congressional district who’s been trying for five months to find out where my congressman stands on an issue I care about.
The issue in question is the 93 percent cut to critical programs run by the Office on Violence Against Women in the 2018 budget. The OVW oversees many effective programs working to end abuse, stalking and sexual assault, especially against women, domestic partners, children, and the elderly. You can read the details of these programs for yourself at www.justice.gov/ovw.
I’ve called his regional and D.C. offices to ask whether the congressman supports funding the OVW, but I got no answer. The same goes for the email I sent through his website. At a public town hall meeting people who care about this issue might get a chance to ask him in person and hold him accountable for his answer.
The telephone town halls aren’t a good alternative. They aren’t announced ahead of time, so they’re easy to miss. In the calls I was able to answer, the congressman didn’t take questions regarding the OVW. I’ve even seen speculation that Bost only answers pre-screened “softball” questions. I hope that he holds a real public meeting soon so that we can be sure that our congressman is listening to our concerns.
Stephanie Larson, Alton