With town hall issue HerreraBeutler vs Long race highlights communication consternation
GOLDENDALE — Thirty minutes before Wednesday’s scheduled appearance at a Klickitat County grange hall with her opponent, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Carolyn Long swept through the door and made a beeline for the crowd, which had already started to gather. Deep in Republican country, the Democrat proceeded to work the room, shaking hands, asking questions and making sure everyone knew who she was.A few minutes later, Republican Herrera Beutler entered, and took a spot near the podium, where she stood waiting to greet anyone who approached her. She too took questions, but in a venue where it was standing room only, few risked leaving their seats to say hello.As much as any other issue in this year’s 3rd Congressional District race, the candidates’ communications styles are poles apart. And it’s become a key issue in the race.In an era where civility has been increasingly displaced by rancor, how do members of Congress communicate with the public? And in a large, diverse congressional district, what’s even possible?No matter the answers, many in Clark County are left wanting more.Specifically, they want town halls. But Herrera Beutler is not only criticized for failing to show up in person, but for form letter responses to questions, an office staff unable or unavailable to answer questions and holding telephone meetings where the questions are screened in advance.