Two years ago President Barack Obama hosted the White House’s first ever Twitter Town Hall meeting. Former Congressman Norm Dicks didn’t follow suit. I don’t remember Jay Inslee doing that either.
Introducing the Twitter town hall locally falls on Derek Kilmer, Kitsap’s newest and only member of Congress, a youngish one at that. On Tuesday Kilmer hosted a Twitter town-hall meeting. Before launching into the substance of that, let me be clear that the congressman has shown a willingness to host the real thing, an in-person town hall. He did six in a week a few weeks back and we wrote about it. On Monday he spoke to a group in Belfair. He doesn’t seem to be afraid of meeting you in person.
Some who like to make sport on the Twitterverse were early to the party.
Chris Joonior “@chrisjoonior” was first, a full day before the town hall. “What is being about the drone problem, last I heard the NAVY in Bremerton was using dogs as drone target practice? Rusty got hit.”
Joonier had several questions:
#AskKilmer how many potatoes am I allowed to eat raw per day?
#AskKilmer when are you going to admit you’re my dad
#AskKilmer can you play the trumpet and would you start a new-wave ska band with me?
Why did you skip out on my wifes Sonic the Hedgehog BBQ when you said u would bring the SEGA #AskKilmer
#AskKilmer what is being done about this Benjamin Ghazi fella
There were other people and other questions I sha’n’t share here.
Once the town hall officially started there were serious questions. The ones he answered were about the Citizens United Supreme Court decision and campaign finance, whether members of Congress should be paid while they can’t pass a budget, sequestration, term limits, veterans benefits, student loans, Congressional gridlock, Highway 167, civil liberties and national security.
Kilmer even answered the ska band question. “I’m a bass player. I’ll leave the ska to the Mighty Mighty Bosstones,” he wrote.
As for the format, “I prefer the old fashioned town hall and have now done one – or more – in every county in our District. But I’m all for new ways to interact with the folks I represent and to be accountable to them. 140 chars is a challenge though” the congressman wrote.
One of the good things about a town hall like this is there is a full record of the proceedings. To see the questions go to Twitter and search for the entries with the hashtag #AskKilmer and on Facebook at the “Derek Kilmer” page. The answers were all on Twitter at @RepDerekKilmer.