Dear John Carter,
On February 22, Wilco Indivisible hosted a beautiful, well-attended (over 300 constituents!), community-affirming town hall. We invited you and you declined. Your office gave various reasons for your absence:
A trip to the border was apparently more important to you than meeting with your constituents during recess week. Had we known in advance that you would be with Speaker Ryan working towards that cursed wall, we could have set a different date. But your office does not share your schedule. So there’s no way we can plan to meet with you, even when you are supposed to be in your home district for a “Constituent Work Week.”
We had a good laugh about the irony of your office citing your safety concerns, as progressives tend to push for stricter gun control. But, erring on the side of caution, we had a team of Peace Monitors, complete with medical professionals in case of emergency. There were no emergencies. People of the TX 31st District brought their kids and dogs and had picnics. Kids played on the playground.
Your preference for teleconferences
You have said you believe that teleconferences reach more people. But there’s no opportunity for meaningful dialogue in a teleconference. You can pick questions in advance and avoid constituents who might confront you with opposing views. Please remember, Judge Carter: whether or not we voted for you, we know you are our legitimate representative. We have concerns, and we have a proper expectation of being heard. As Texans we are accustomed to looking a man in the eye.
John Carter went to the border and all we got was a cardboard cutout
More than 30 constituents asked questions about pressing issues such as the ACA, Russia’s interference with the election, 45’s tax returns (which we ALL want to see!), climate change and environmental disasters, and education.
We want to know how you will help prevent families from being ripped apart as 45’s harsh immigration policies tear through Central Texas.
We want to know how to feel safe with gun violence on the rise.
We want to know how you will empower women to take control of their health.
Because you were not there, we invited community groups that filled us in on current legislation and actions we can take:
We were also joined by Austin City Councilman Jimmy Flannigan and Williamson County Commissioner Terry Cook, elected officials who were NOT concerned about their personal safety. They inspired us to do more for our community, to be involved in the change that is sweeping Williamson County. I wish you could have seen the crowd’s energy.
Your office told us afterwards that our event looked very much like a Democratic rally. We invited these organizations and elected officials not to indoctrinate the crowd, but because these organizations share the values and ideals this substantial and growing group of your constituents holds.
Said differently: we listen to local people and support the discussion they want to have. But we get it: you would like to control the terms of any town hall.
So let’s make a deal: if you will agree to hold a public town hall, we won’t have to do this again during recess week. You pick the time, place, and and we’ll show up. We just want to talk to you, and we will keep asking.