April 6, 2017
I have always placed a high priority on being accessible and accountable to my constituents, which is why I hold more than 100 in-person town hall meetings annually. My staff in Brookfield and Washington, D.C. field many calls each day, and every constituent who would like an individual response to specific questions submitted by phone, email, or standard mail receives one in a timely manner.
Social media is also an important forum for constituents to speak their minds and let me know how they feel about issues and specific legislative efforts, which is why last month, I wrote a column that specifically addressed the questions I receive through my social media accounts. Due to the positive response I received, I’d like to use this week’s column to address another group of questions I frequently receive on Facebook and Twitter.
The conversations that occur on my social media accounts are monitored each day and comments and questions are passed along to me. Although I don’t respond directly on social media, it’s important for my constituents to know that I see their posts.
Thank you to every constituent who takes the time to contact my office and/or speak to me directly at any of my many town hall meetings. I look forward to continued discussions on important legislation and issues that impact the people of our communities and our nation.
“Waiting for a rescheduled Town Hall in Tosa…”
Posted on Facebook March 30, 2017
The views and concerns of all my constituents matter, and I make it a point to visit communities in every part of my district. Unfortunately due to a snow storm my previously scheduled town hall in Wauwatosa had to be postponed, but there will be a meeting held there in the next round of town halls.
I plan my town hall meeting schedule many weeks, sometimes months, in advance in order to secure locations, ensure law enforcement officials are available for the safety of everyone participating, and so there is enough time to promote the events. I have held various meetings in neighboring communities, and will be holding more in the coming weeks in order to provide a forum for constituents in that area of my district.
In addition to my many in-person meetings, I am easily accessible by phone, email, and standard mail.
“@JimPressOffice I oppose Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court & support a filibuster against his nomination.”
Posted on Twitter March 27, 2017
The House of Representatives does not play an active role in the nomination and confirmation process of potential Supreme Court candidates.
With that said, I believe that Judge Gorsuch has proven himself an ardent defender of the Constitution, an advocate for the sanctity of human life, and a prudent judicial practitioner who has served with humility, integrity, and candor. I support his nomination to the Supreme Court and have no doubt that if confirmed, he will continue to serve the American people with honor, integrity, and the utmost respect for the laws of this nation.
“@JimPressOffice Sensenbrenner, ur on the list of those opposing an Independent Investigation into the Russia ties to Trump. Why?”
Posted on Twitter March 26, 2017
The FBI is currently conducting an independent investigation. Additionally, there are five committees currently investigating this issue, including:
• The Senate Intelligence Committee
• The Senate Judiciary Committee
• The House Intelligence Committee
• The House Judiciary Committee
• The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
I have complete confidence in the FBI and these bipartisan committees to conduct a thorough, intensive, and extensive investigation. I believe it is not only repetitive and counterproductive to hire an independent investigator, but it is also a misuse and waste of taxpayer dollars.
“Never hear from u during [the health care] debate, only after the fact. Perhaps if you spoke up when the issue was hot, improvements could have been made; but no, just keep showing up and marching in parades all summer, it is the only time we see or hear from you!”
Posted on Facebook March 25, 2017
I am currently on the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs Committees due to my expertise in these issue areas. I am not a member of the committees of jurisdiction that oversaw congressional efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. With that said, I was vocal at town hall meetings and through various other communications about the fact that, while not perfect, the American Health Care Act was a step in the right direction toward the repeal and replace of President Obama’s disastrous health care law.
Regarding your second point, I am very accessible and available to all my constituents. Unfortunately, because I suffered a hip injury in 2012, my doctor recommends I no longer walk in parades. However, I host more than 100 town hall meetings each year, respond to every written question or comment that is sent to my offices in Brookfield and Washington, and send a quarterly newsletter detailing my legislative and constituent priorities. My office also fields hundreds of phone calls every month and I regularly post updates on my legislative efforts through social media and press releases, which are all featured on my official website.
“Obviously Jim doesn’t read any of the comments we post or he would see that most of his constituents didn’t want Trumpcare. Not that he actually cares what we want.”
Posted on Facebook March 24, 2017
During my campaign, I spoke openly and honestly about my congressional priorities, including my desire to repeal and replace Obamacare. While I respect and consider the views of all my constituents no matter their beliefs, I was elected with 68 percent of the vote to move forward on the priorities I outlined.
Although I understand the frustration of my constituents who did not vote for me, I urge them to consider how they would feel if they voted for someone on the belief that person would uphold promises made during an election, then once elected, that person went back on their promises.
For example, if the majority of constituents in Rep. Gwen Moore’s district elected her to preserve Obamacare, and then she suddenly changed her position and worked to repeal it, everyone who elected her would feel disenfranchised, let down, and lied to.
Similarly, the majority of voters in the Fifth District reelected me because they wanted me to do what I said I would do, which includes repealing and replacing Obamacare. I will not go back on my word to follow through on the agenda I was elected to enact.
“You don’t listen to your constituents. All the town halls and you still don’t listen. Get voicemail”
Posted on Twitter March 23, 2017
Staff members in both my Brookfield and Washington, D.C. offices answer phone calls from 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday. Maybe I’m “old school,” but I want constituents to speak to a live person when they reach out to my offices. In fact, we do not utilize a voicemail system for this very reason. I think a two-way dialogue is a much more effective way to communicate. Sometimes all of the incoming lines are busy and a caller might hear a busy signal. When this happens, I encourage you to hang up and try again.
I also regularly provide public forums for constituents to voice their concerns. I listen to and appreciate the opinions of every person who speaks, whether or not I agree with their point of view. With increasing interruptions at such events, it does become difficult to hear from each person who would like to speak, but I get to as many constituents as possible in the time allotted and am happy to respond through email and letters to those who don’t get an opportunity to speak to me directly at meetings.
“Trying to hear at @JimPressOffice’s town hall. Didn’t get a big enough room; we can’t get in.”
Posted on Twitter March 18
My town hall meeting schedule is often set months ahead of time, allowing for the meetings to be publicized and worked around my duties in Washington. We work with the U.S. Capitol Police and local law enforcement to determine the safest venues for all participants. All meetings are held in public buildings, and we defer to law enforcement to advise us about safety. Additionally, larger venues, such as middle schools or high schools, are not easily secured and are typically booked with student activities.
I also don’t believe that tax dollars should be expended to secure venues, so if a facility requires a fee, we will not schedule our meeting there. I’ve been doing these meetings for 38 years and our venues have been more than adequate for the most part. Given the new challenges we are experiencing with larger crowds, I think we are doing a good job of addressing all the factors that go into a location selection.
“I honestly have no idea of ANYTHING you’ve accomplished in the last 38 years as our “representative…”
Posted on Facebook March 12, 2017
I am extremely proud of the things I’ve achieved as your congressman. So far in the 115th Congress, I’ve introduced 14 bills with many still upcoming.
Over the course of the 114th Congress, I held more than 250 individual town hall meetings throughout the communities of Wisconsin’s Fifth Congressional District. I attended more than 150 community events and personally responded to hundreds of thousands of constituent letters and emails.
I also sent 15 oversight letters to various federal agencies, defending the best interests of the American taxpayers by holding unelected bureaucrats accountable, and introduced 38 bills, two of which were signed into law by President Barack Obama, including the Judicial Redress Act of 2015 and the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015.
I’m particularly proud of my efforts in support of voting rights, the protection of children, America’s disabled citizens, Americans’ privacy, solving our nation’s struggle with addiction, and criminal justice reform.
These are just some of my accomplishments on behalf of Wisconsin’s Fifth Congressional District. You can find more information on my past and present legislative efforts on my official website.
“He chooses his audiences.”
Posted on Facebook March 8, 2017
At the many town hall meetings I host each year, I do not require constituents to RSVP or submit questions in advance. Recently, constituents have contacted my office to tell me that they have not been able to speak at meetings in their communities due to the growing number of people who attend from other communities. To try and rectify this problem, I do my best to speak with constituents residing in the community in which the meeting is being held first, however I get to as many individuals as I can during the time allotted.
In the recent months, due to safety concerns and building codes, town hall meetings have been at capacity, meaning some constituents are unable to join meetings in person. However, I have never turned a constituent away who has wanted to speak to me at a meeting. Seats in my town hall meetings are first-come-first-serve, and as some people leave meetings, others who are waiting outside the meeting room can come in. For further evidence, I encourage you to view any of the recent news articles written about my lively town hall meetings over the past few months.