Democracy in Action at Rothman's March 2006 Listening Sessions
Rothman Hears From Over 400 Residents at His Latest Town Hall Meetings
This month, Congressman Steve Rothman (D-NJ) held eight Listening Sessions throughout Northern New Jersey to hear from his constituents about the issues that matter to them, face-to-face. Over 400 residents came out this week to voice their concerns about rising health costs, the Iraq War, and other issues they see facing their communities.
Rothman holds these town hall meetings to make it easy for people to meet with him personally and give them an additional opportunity to ensure their opinions are heard. Constituents can also communicate with him through letters and phone calls, by email, and in meetings at his offices. During every two-year term in Congress, Rothman visits each of the 37 towns he represents. He firmly believes that town hall meetings like these are an excellent way for people to participate in the Democratic process and make certain their leaders are representing them.
"The nation's founders wisely put us up for re-election every two years. It makes us fully accountable to the people we represent and I am determined that my constituents know they can come to me with any problem, with any question, and with any comment, whether at a town hall meeting or in any other forum," said Rothman.
At multiple points during the Sessions, residents noted their concern over asking about local issues. "No issue is too specific or too small for you to come to me," Rothman replied. "I will do all that I can to help, whether it's moving a bus stop or fighting for universal health care."
Many seniors who attended the Listening Sessions noted the difficulty they are having with Medicare Part D, the president's disastrous prescription drug program that Rothman said must be fixed. The Congressman, while noting that he opposes the current situation, stated that it is the law of the land and offered a simple solution: "Contact my office," he said.
Rothman and his staff will do everything possible to help seniors make the best choice regarding their prescription drug plan. He has experienced caseworkers available to help residents understand what plan is best for them and wade through the complicated paperwork, he explained. His offices in Hackensack and Jersey City can be reached at (201) 646-0808 and (201) 798-1366, respectively.
This group of Listening Sessions in Edgewater, Fairview, South Hackensack, North Arlington, Teterboro, Saddle Brook, Ridgefield Park, and Kearny were very well-attended.
With large numbers of residents focused on issues ranging from eminent domain to immigration, Rothman rose to the challenge and answered their questions with respect and honesty.
Regardless of whether they agreed or disagreed, Rothman engaged in debate and discussion with residents. In fact, he answered every question submitted, remaining nearly an hour late in some places to address everyone's comments.
"I am happy to listen to any and all comments and points of view from my constituents. I am also eager to answer any and all questions they have about specific problems they see taking place. I learn so much from these Sessions; I want the residents I meet with to walk away with a better understanding of the issues facing our community, as well," said Rothman.