A smile from Bill Belichick … a New Hampshire winter without snow … a visit to Chez Vachon without hearing French Canadian spoken at a nearby table. … We Granite Staters all know each of these situations is certainly possible, but very unlikely. Something we might even call "a rarity."
Here in New Hampshire, we are all about to be treated to another rarity. This time, it comes in the form of a town hall meeting with 1st District U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter. However, unlike any of the aforementioned occurrences, a Shea-Porter town hall meeting, or her attendance at them, wasn't always as uncommon as a Big Foot sighting on Elm Street in Manchester.
Almost anyone who lives in New Hampshire, or has partaken in our political process, knows that the town hall meeting is a core aspect of our history, a tradition used to ensure that our elected officials at every level of government represent our interests, not their own. Interestingly enough, when she was an activist fighting to promote ultra-liberal ideas, Carol Shea-Porter witnessed firsthand the importance of town hall meetings. Years ago, she was a frequent attendee at many of former 1st District Rep. Jeb Bradley's town hall meetings, where she commonly debated many important issues with him.
Astoundingly, though, Rep. Shea-Porter's view on town hall meetings quickly changed once she was the one in the front of the room and others were asking her the tough questions. After disastrous performances during some town hall meetings she held in 2010 that resulted in negative national news coverage, she decided to go into hiding. She did everything possible to avoid anyone who might have a differing opinion on the issues facing our state and country.
Sure, she would attend posh, high-dollar fundraisers with former Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Boston or go to liberal gatherings with her supporters at house parties and functions, but long gone were the days when she would make herself accessible to everyday Granite Staters who had serious questions and legitimate concerns about our country. For years, it has been more likely that we would catch a glimpse of the Loch Ness Monster swimming down the Merrimack River than for Carol Shea-Porter to hold an open forum to discuss her votes.
I'm not that surprised that she decided to hide from her constituents. There are a lot of extremely difficult questions Granite Staters would like answered. Such as why she voted for Obamacare and repeated to New Hampshire residents what Politifact has dubbed "The Lie of the Year": the untrue statement that we could keep our private insurance after the implementation of Obamacare.
And we cannot forget her support for a wasteful stimulus, a disastrous cap-and-trade program, job-killing tax hikes, and the fact that she has done nothing but add to our ballooning debt and deficit.
However, in no way should those bad votes be excuses for avoiding those you are supposed to represent.
With all this being said, you can imagine how excited we were to hear that after months and months of pressure and protests from Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire and others, halfway through her term as a congresswoman she has finally come out from hiding and has scheduled her first town hall meeting in years.
Regardless of our varying positions on the issues, we Granite Staters are all very passionate about the countless problems facing our families and our state. We are some of the most engaged citizens in the country, and we take pride in our involvement in the process that results in policies that affect us all.
New Hampshire residents, my message to you is to not let this opportunity pass you by. Take some time out of your day and join the congresswoman's town hall meeting this Saturday, Jan. 11 at 10 a.m. at the Maple Suites Senior Center at 30 Holiday Drive in Dover and voice your opposition to Rep. Shea-Porter's continued support for failed liberal policies. Finally, it is time to make your voices heard because you just don't know when (or if) you will ever get the chance to ask her a question again.
Mike Biundo of Manchester, former campaign manager for U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta and presidential candidate Rick Santorum, is founder of Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire.