Monday, July 27, 2009

Only in Alaska?

My phone rang around 5:30 this afternoon. On the other end of the line, I heard a recorded message from Senator Mark Begich of Alaska. Like most people, I absolutely detest telephone solicitations, especially political ones, but, before I could make a move to hang up, I heard him say something about discussing the health care bill.

Now that caught my attention.

For weeks, I've been reading online articles and listening to online radio broadcasts in an effort to understand what in the world is going on with Obama's health care reform efforts. I'm all for reform where reform is needed, but I must admit that much of what I've read and heard has me rather concerned. So I was more than happy to hear what the new Senator from Alaska had to say.

Within a few seconds, I realized that Senator Begich was not soliciting anything or even giving a prepared speech. In fact, the phone call was actually part of a statewide "Tele-Town Hall Meeting."

Say, what???

All across the state, telephones rang with an invitation to talk with Senator Begich (personally!) about health care reform. I have no idea how many people were home to answer their telephones or how many took the senator up on his offer, but for about 30-40 minutes participants from all corners of Alaska called in and were free to ask questions.

Living in a bush village, away from the action and access of important cities, it's easy to feel voiceless and unheard. Today was the first time I've ever felt connected to my government apart from the occasional privilege of casting my vote.

I have no clue whether this "Tele-Town Meeting" thing is a new idea or has been happening for years, but I just want to go on record as saying that I appreciate having that opportunity. I applaud Senator Begich for taking the time to reach out to those he represents in a practical and tangible way. It was a great connection!

And those aren't so easy to come by in Alaska...or anywhere else.


Floridacracker said...

Neat use of technology. That is the first I've heard of something like that.

Kimberlee said...

Hi, FC.
I totally agree. And I hope it happens again.

nenana said...

i didn't get a call. and he didn't do a town hall meeting on the kenai. i felt ignored. bad form, senator. ;-)