LTE: Rep. Paulsen should spend more time in front of constituents

To the editor,

I have been reading the reports in your newspaper and in other news media about the demonstrations in the Third Congressional District. I fully support what these people are doing to reach out to Rep. Eric Paulsen.

I am 70 years old and I used to attend town hall meetings and even field staff meetings with the congressman’s office so I could discuss issues with my representative whether Democrat or Republican. But that is hard to do these days.

Last year I called Rep. Paulsen’s office and his staff person was very rude. He challenged everything I had to say and asked me to prove it. I sent him links to major news organizations to support what I was saying. He yelled at me and talked over me. Finally when he ran out of words, I asked “May I speak now?” This had never happened to me before and some of my friends are saying they too have had the same treatment and one even called back to add to her comments and they had not recorded her name or what she had called about. So phoning him is ineffective if they don’t tell him what you called about.

I have sent emails to him and I get letters back that are unsatisfactory. I do not believe that privatizing social security is the answer to saving it, but I have no way to relay that information. There is no two-way conversation.

I had hoped to see him at a town hall meeting, but he only does phone-in meetings or talks to a handful of people and calls it a town hall meeting.

Everyone should have a chance to express their opinions and have their questions answered and we can’t find a way to do that with Rep. Paulsen. I have checked out the group that sponsored the huge meeting and they can’t be dismissed as just a left wing group. They are people who are concerned about health care and so many issues that are facing us and they are scared because their voices are not being heard. So thank you for covering the story. It is not easy for people to stand up to be counted or to speak out, but there is no other choice these days as long as Rep. Paulsen isolates himself from the public.

Jackie Johnston
Maple Plain