As a resident of the Third Congressional District, I’ve become accustomed to Rep. Erik Paulsen’s unavailability. His last public, in-person town hall meeting was September 2011, and he refuses to hold another because he doesn’t want people yelling at him. However, his last-minute cancellation at Edina’s July 4th parade took his unavailability to a whole new level. A Paulsen spokesman said he doesn’t make public events like this a priority during “off” years. I guess we can only expect his presence during election years when he needs our votes.
Paulsen recently stated he is “good friends” with former Rep. Gabby Giffords, and even attended the commissioning ceremony of the Navy ship in her honor. I implore him to listen to her advice: “Town halls … were a hallmark of my tenure in Congress. … [L]istening to my constituents was the most basic and core tenet of the job I was hired to do. … To the politicians who have abandoned their civic obligations, I say this: Have some courage. Face your constituents. Hold town halls.”
And, maybe even attend a parade.
Colleen Graf, Brooklyn Park
Minneapolis StarTribune, July 8, 2017