Raising your voice at town hall meetings still the 'gold standard' for engagement

In-person forums are 'gold standard' for political engagement, activist says

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  • Fullypresent Salt Lake City, UT
    April 1, 2017 4:26 p.m.

    Trump was and is a role model for some of that very bad behavior. People at the top need to set the example & culture and hope that filters down.

  • New to Utah Provo, UT
    March 31, 2017 7:39 p.m.

    Stewart said that he will have adequate security and he wants to hear from those who may disagree with him. It will be interesting to see the results of this town hall.

  • Utah Girl Chronicles Eagle Mountain, UT
    March 31, 2017 6:13 p.m.

    @ Frozen Fractals

    Agree that civility and decency should always win the day. But if those town halls weren't so raucous, if everyone just sat there politely, 24,000,000 people would have lost their health care. Sometimes pushback is required. A country can't be run by conservative think tanks.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    March 31, 2017 5:53 p.m.

    @Utah Girl Chronicles
    "Now GOP voices are being shouted down in town meetings and suddenly that is so wrong. It 's funny how attitudes about civility and decency change so quickly."

    Or back in 2009-2010 the Tea Party protests were shouting down Congressional representatives at town halls. Personally I thought those were rude then (though ultimately effective I suppose considering the midterms) and I think people on my side of the aisle are being rude now. There's plenty of ways to challenge members of Congress or even protest without just being disruptive.

  • Sirveaux Taylorsville, UT
    March 31, 2017 5:28 p.m.

    I get a good laugh from that sign the one lady is holding that says, "Are you listening to your party or your people?" Most voters don't mind if their candidates put their party first, as long as it's the one the voter wants them to.

  • Utah Girl Chronicles Eagle Mountain, UT
    March 31, 2017 5:21 p.m.

    It's not hard to hearken back to the GOP primary where there were 17 candidates scrambling to have their voices heard. The candidate with the loudest voice won.

    That was a successful strategy. Millions of people voted for the man with the loudest voice. Now GOP voices are being shouted down in town meetings and suddenly that is so wrong. It 's funny how attitudes about civility and decency change so quickly.

  • Marigold Provo, UT
    March 31, 2017 3:44 p.m.

    Respectful citizens won't show up to shouting matches which is something Ms. Seed and her followers seem to encourage and revel in. Please, be respectful and put down the signs during Town Hall Meetings. Let the elected representative share his/her views and then raise your hand to ask a question, giving others the opportunity to ask their question. Shouting, even yelling, is so disrespectful and holding up alike signs in unison is something akin to lemming behavior. Brutish behavior does not win.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    March 31, 2017 3:43 p.m.

    Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, Wisconsin, North Carolina... their congressional delegations in 2012 were heavily tilted to Republicans despite Obama winning all of those states aside from a narrow loss in North Carolina. That's the power of gerrymandering. The GOP controls many more governorships and state houses so they stacked the deck. Do Democrats gerrymander too? Yep. My House district in Maryland where I grew up got altered to take in more DC suburbs to pair with western maryland flipping the reliably red seat blue.

    Isn't this wrong when done in either direction? Shouldn't we all want independent commissions drawing the maps in all of the states?

  • toosmartforyou Kaysville, UT
    March 19, 2017 10:38 p.m.

    @Impartial7 If you want to be heard, speak softly and respectfully. Shouting is a sure way for your point of view to be ignored, whether you're talking about government, disciplining teenagers, convincing a spouse of your point of view, working with and not against a supervisor at work, etc. Tantrums result in one being removed from the situation and their opinions being ignored and subsequently rejected. Why is that so hard to understand? Grown adults ought to be embarrassed by their behavior, not exult in it. Funny that those who want to be heard are so motivated to be disruptive and disrespectful to the very persons they want to listen to them. Talk about a failure to get across what you want.

  • military mom Herriman, UT
    March 19, 2017 2:59 p.m.

    I have only been a resident of Utah for 18 months and as a registered Republican who did NOT vote for Trump, I continue to be completely underwhelmed with his policies and behavior and have attempted to contact my representative and senators on multiple occasions to register my disapproval and concerns. When I call, I receive voicemails telling me to leave a message (the mailbox is always full), and when I e-mail, I occasionally get promises of return e-mails with answers to my questions (only one response has ever come). In the case of Ms. Love's office, sometimes I've had a pleasant conversation with an actual human being who politely records my question and says she'll pass it on to the congresswoman (my questions have never been answered, but I do get pleas for campaign donations). Therefore, I understand the frustrations of many who feel that their "traditional efforts" to be politically engaged are continually thwarted and that apparently the only way to get a representative to respond (unless you're a rabid Republican willing to donate cash) is to protest and shout at a public event. I commend Rep. Stewart for being willing to enter the fray!

  • Thomas Thompson SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    March 19, 2017 8:24 a.m.

    I don't think, in the case of our representatives, that it's so much a case of "they think they know what they're going to hear." Rather, it's a case of knowing that, whatever they may try to say, they'll simply be shouted down. An emphasis on civility is the key to a legitimate exchange of ideas.

  • Fullypresent Salt Lake City, UT
    March 18, 2017 11:02 p.m.

    Start listening to people and pass around a microphone at these meetings and people won't have to yell.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    March 18, 2017 9:42 p.m.

    Come now. Don't blame gerrymandering. You can't do much in a state where Mike Lee lost in only one county - Summit County. And that was close. (9409 to 9610.)

    Hillary won in Salt Lake and Summit, but you have to admit that Misty Snow and Evan McMullin were both outliers.

    So gerrymandering for democrats would be a few drops of blue blood in SLC, Ogden (but not Hill AFB), parts of Logan up by the university and parts of the west side of the valley (Magna, but not Murray, for example).

    A great example of real gerrymandering is IL-4. It looks like earmuffs but is 72% Latino. Unlike a hypothetical Utah democrat district at least it is contiguous.

    Democrats used to attract the farmers, but, like blue dogs, that ship has sailed.

    No one has carved up Utah to snatch power from the democrats. That isn't possible...or necessary.

    So...yes, democrats deserve a voice at town hall meetings; but that doesn't mean they should hijack it for a bash-Trump rally.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    March 18, 2017 9:34 p.m.

    If I recall the town halls when the ACA was being implemented were not cordial.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    March 18, 2017 9:04 p.m.


    The GOP created this?

    So not getting your way justified boorish behavior? A lot of people disagreed with Democrat Rep. Jim Matheson and his party. But he was treated with respect when he held town meetings.

    Democrats are not entitled to an urban only, Democrat safe district. Being rude and threatening violence isn't going to work in Utah.

    Creating a Democrat safe district would make all 4 districts completely uncompetitive. In the most recent federal, Statewide Senator race, Democrat primary voters chose a transgender cashier over a much more credible candidate. Misty failed to crack 30%. That is not gerrymandering. Even Chicago Democrats can't gerrymander a Statewide races.

    Who would the Democrats nominate in a guaranteed Democrat safe district?

    We don't need more extreme candidates.

    Utah's political minority needs to stop throwing temper tantrums and grow up. Enjoy the great culture here, or vote with your feet and enjoy the liberal policies and sunshine in California. The majority dowant want Utah to have Cali policies or culture.

  • Jbejarano Eagle Mountain, UT
    March 18, 2017 8:24 p.m.

    @Impartial7 Where you get your 1 million Democrats number? According to Utah Lieutenant Governor Election website there are 175,039 Democrats Active and inactive. Total 1.5 million total voters. Democrats make up an 11% slice of voters.

    Last Chaffetz town hall was filled with people outside of the district, intellectual dishonesty is not a virtue. Facts matter, Trump won the election, vocal minorities do not represent the majority.

  • don17 Temecula, CA
    March 18, 2017 8:23 p.m.

    The California Democrat party created this mess too! In their greed for total political domination they gerrymandered the most populous, and conservative counties into irrelevance. You've got any number of democrats diluting parts of A number of Republican counties gaining the democrats the majority with the rest of their territory. Over 15.2 million Republicans(40 percent of California) have a dramatically reduced voice losing 7 congressional seats severely limiting fair representation. It should be illegal. And illegal in Illinois as well and NY and So on. You see we are mad too, but after each census based on population and each states rules it happens too both sides! Perspective. 4 years to a Census and 4 years to a presidential election. In the mean time our job is to make America a better place. Give the cities a chance to blossom. At least President Trump wants to try.

  • Here Sandy, UT
    March 18, 2017 8:21 p.m.

    If yelling is the only communication skill you have, no wonder no one wants to listen. A wise man once facetiously asked, "Why communicate when you can scream?"

  • JBs Logan, UT
    March 18, 2017 8:18 p.m.

    Good for Rep Stewart. I respect his decision to listen, even when he has a pretty clear idea that exchanges are going to be heated. The founding fathers had extremely heated debates with one another, so why would anyone expect town halls to be love fests? Reasonable people can disagree and be angry at each other. It's when we don't communicate that there is a problem.

  • Samson01 S. Jordan, UT
    March 18, 2017 7:52 p.m.

    Only 9% of registered voters are signed up as Democrats and 20% self identify as Democrat. Of the unaffiliated, the numbers are similar which result in approx. 25% of the voting population in Utah are voting for the democrat ticket. 68% of those live in SLC proper representing 50% of that population. If Salt Lake City had it's own representative, it would be a competitive race every election.

    While I dislike the Democrat party it seems that I would agree with some that the gerrymandered districts are unfair.

    As to the town halls, it amuses me that some would claim that the disruptions seen in the Chaffetz town hall were grass root uprisings. They were clearly orchestrated and disrupted as a protest effort. Sad really. It is why I have never seriously considered the Democratic party as something I wanted to be a part of. Too much victim-hood. Too much ends-justify-the-means thinking.

  • Iron Rod Salt Lake City, UT
    March 18, 2017 7:26 p.m.

    So what do we think of the telephone town halls?
    Personally I think they are attempts to control the agenda.
    Do only approved people get the chance to speak?
    To me it seems like a late night TV infomercial for the candidate

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    March 18, 2017 7:09 p.m.

    @Thirdtryscreen name:
    "Truth be told, when these whiners take over a meeting it just splashes back on the protesters. They don't gain support by it."

    Do you understand the dynamics of Chaffetz' town hall in Cottonwood Heights? They ARE his constituents. They didn't take over anything-the rest of his district from Provo, Orem, Blanding, Price, etc. weren't there. Plus, as the head of the House Oversight Committee, a lot of folks from both parties want him to investigate Trump. That's what happens when you wander into a gerrymandered district and mistakenly expect it to be friendly, like your Utah County compliant voters.

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    March 18, 2017 6:35 p.m.

    A Rep needs to talk to his constituents, but about the things he can control. An anti-Trump tantrum is NOT a visit with your Rep.

    If town halls aren't productive, why hold them?

    You can do phone town halls. You can send out newsletters. You can do on-line chats.

    Nothing says you have to give a platform to dissidents. Nothing.

    Trump won. Get over it. Leave the local guys alone...or you'll end the deal for everyone.

    Truth be told, when these whiners take over a meeting it just splashes back on the protesters. They don't gain support by it.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    March 18, 2017 6:07 p.m.

    The Utah GOP created this mess. In their greed for total political domination, they gerrymandered the most populous, and most liberal County into irrelevance. You've got Mia Love, Jason Chaffetz & Chris Stewart all representing and diluting parts of SL County while gaining Republican LDS majority's with the rest of their territories. Over 1 million Democrats (1/3 of Utah's population) have ZERO voice or Congressional representation. It should be illegal. People are mad and rightly so.