From DEBORAH SCHWARTZ
The article “Latta’s Health Care Vote Leaves Some Constituents Feeling Sick,” published May 5, 2017, did an excellent job covering both sides of the political healthcare story in District 5: Bob Latta ‘s oft-repeated Republican poppycock about the failures of “Obamacare” and his constituents’ concerns about the deleterious effects “Trumpcare” will have on their health. But thankfully, it went one step further in reporting on Latta’s lack of communication with his constituents.
As someone who has emailed him, called him, gone to his Bowling Green office, and worked on planning town halls to which he was invited but did not attend, I can attest to the fact that his communication with his constituents is sub-par:
· He does not hold or attend town halls.
· His telephone town halls are one-sided, with no notice of when they are scheduled, screening of questions, and no time for follow-up questions.
· His District Director and office staffers respond blandly to questions about Mr. Latta’s votes and opinions, as in “Mr. Latta hasn’t communicated with us about that yet.”
· His schedule is not posted in advance of events – anywhere – although a BG office staffer said that press releases on his website told where he would be.
· He doesn’t respond to comments on his posts on Facebook.
· His email newsletter is full of superficial reports on legislation and his letters are form letters that do not respond to constituents’ questions or concerns.
Last Friday, while two Wood County residents braved the rainstorm to stand on Main St. with signs about having a pre-existing condition and needing healthcare and one simply stating “Shame on Latta,” five of us from Sylvania Township, Perrysburg, and Swanton braved the coolness of Latta’s Bowling Green office to express our deep concern about the effects the American Health Care Act will have on those of us who live in Northwest Ohio.
We questioned the office staff person who’s paid to listen to us on how Mr. Latta knows what his constituents (not just those who contributed to his campaign) really think about anything; we asked where Mr. Latta might be going in his district during the current recess; and we wondered aloud why Mr. Latta doesn’t show up in his Bowling Green office once in a while when constituents are there, since he happens to live in Bowling Green. All to no avail.
I seriously don’t think the citizens of District 5 will put up with this blatant disregard of our right to be heard – our right to be represented in Congress – much longer. Certainly not past 2018.