U.S. Rep. Kay Granger won’t be holding a congressional town hall meeting in Fort Worth this summer because she said it’s too dangerous.
“I wish we could have a town hall meeting and engage with others,” said Granger, R-Fort Worth, who chairs the powerful House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee. “There are so many threats going on.”
This comes just weeks since a gunman opened fire during an early morning practice of Republican congressmen trying to get ready for the charitable Congressional Baseball Game in Virginia. And it comes six years after U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., was shot at a Tucson grocery store during a “Congress on Your Corner” constituent event.
U.S. House members recently learned there have been 980 threats against them.
“Obviously we are living in a time where incivility has kind of run rampant,” said Jim Riddlesperger, a political science professor at TCU. “Ninety-seven percent of people have perspective and don’t go crazy. But it’s that one rogue person.
“Members of Congress have the right to be concerned.”
At the same time, he and others wonder how one can balance safety concerns with the need to interact with constituents from all walks of life.
Even in these politically turbulent times, some lawmakers such as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas continue to hold public meetings.
But Granger said she doesn’t believe typical town hall meetings are effective right now.