Why won’t Bob Goodlatte talk to his constituents? I heard he held regular townhalls, but it turns out he doesn’t attend them: “Each month a member of Congressman Goodlatte’s staff travels to several communities throughout the Sixth District to discuss issues or problems you might have with the federal government.” A lot of other folks read about the Lexington meeting on his website too, because every chair was filled. The Staunton staffer was Debbie Garrett, who seems like a perfectly nice person trying to do her job.

Unfortunately her job didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Although the ninety-minute period was an “open door” meeting, Debbie explained her priority was one-on-one “case studies” requiring everyone else to leave. While I’m pleased Mr. Goodlatte’s staff is attentive to individual concerns, it’s bewildering why they’re scheduled during an advertised “open door” meeting. Sure enough, after about a half hour, an individual with a private concern did appear, and Ms. Garrett ended the meeting. Before ushering us out, she was asked if Mr. Goodlatte was ever available to meet himself, and she said things about security fears and not knowing his schedule.

She’d been scribbling down a barrage of pointed questions, from Mr. Goodlatte’s failed attempt to gut the Ethics Office, to his wish to repeal but not immediately replace Obamacare, to his failure to urge the President-elect to release his taxes. In short, Debbie was looking a little frayed, which is probably why she insulted someone. The man stopped mid-sentence, shocked by the expression she made while he was speaking. Apparently Debbie didn’t think his concern about global climate change was very important. She apologized immediately and told us all again that her job was only to record our concerns and pass them onto her boss who she couldn’t possibly speak for herself.

This is Bob Goodlatte’s way of “discussing issues” with voters. It’s intentionally inadequate, contradictory, and insulting. Goodlatte works for the 6th District. If he thinks he’s too important to talk to us, he needs a new job. I bet Debbie wouldn’t mind one herself.

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