Over at Bearing Drift, I have a brief report on U.S. Representative Tom Garrett's town hall meeting, which was held last week at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. (Coincidentally, the meeting took place in a classroom in the Batten School's Garrett Hall.) The town hall was scheduled for 90 minutes but extended to two hours. It was moderated by Dean Allan Stam, who noted that the previous week he had hosted a similar discussion by one of Garrett's predecessors as the representative for the Fifth Congressional District of Virginia, Tom Perriello, who this year is running for governor. (Other predecessors include James Madison, Virgil Goode, and Robert Hurt.)
I noted some of the issues covered in the wide-ranging conversation:
There were many other topics discussed during the town hall: health care, immigration, energy, climate change, presidential tax returns, rescheduling marijuana, gas pipelines and eminent domain, the federal budget and its impact on the University of Virginia. Originally scheduled to last 90 minutes, Garrett agreed to extend it another half hour and promised to seek a larger venue the next time he holds a town hall meeting in Charlottesville. (According to another news release from his office, dated April 3, “Garrett’s next radio town hall is scheduled for April 13 from 7-9 pm with Joe Thomas on WCHV 107.5 and in person on May 9 in Moneta, Virginia.”)
I also was able to capture the entire discussion on video, now posted to YouTube, in four easily digestible segments of unequal length. Watch them below.
For a special bonus, here is an excerpt of the interruption early in the town hall, staged by protesters who chanted: "Hey hey, ho ho, white supremacy's got to go!" (To which Garrett replied, "We agree.")
After the forum, I had an exclusive interview with Congressman Garrett about foreign policy issues, particularly those that concern him as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee's subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organization. You can read an article based on that interview at Sub-Saharan Monitor.