Colorado Senator Cory Gardner trying to convince us that telephone town halls are the greatest thing since birth control, which he suddenly began to love in the middle of his last election.
But for all his telephone town-hall talk, Gardner only recently got around to adding a new page to his website where constituents can sign up for a tele town hall.
Don’t look around his website for a chance to see Gardner in person. He has none scheduled.
But you can complete an online form and, as Gardner writes, “we will call you before each event starts.”
Gardner’s promise to call specific people contradicts his statement last month that his constituents must be called at random.
“[Gardner’s] communications director told me that they and other U.S. Senators have a company that sets up telephone town halls according to senate rules that require participants be selected randomly from voter rolls,” CBS4 political specialist Shaun Boyd reported Jan. 30.
I had no luck locating the rules referenced, and my phone call to Gardner’s office routed me directly to voice mail and was not returned. A call to Vakeo, which apparently operates Gardner’s tele town halls, was not returned.
But a Google search yielded numerous references to the “random” selection of participants on telephone town halls organized by members of Congress, like Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA).
The selection of participants for Gardner’s town halls, the next of which is set to occur March 1, is important, because Gardner is telling constituents who are demanding an in-person town hall to go to his website and sign up for the telephone variety instead.
“We will add you to the next tele-town hall,” Gardner told a woman who tracked down Gardner in an elevator last week, as shown in a video she posted online. “It’s no problem” (in the top video here at 1 min 15 seconds).
But it is a problem if participants on the telephone town halls are selected at random, because this would exclude some random people.
Since Trump’s election, Gardner has relied on secretive or expensive private meetings and one telephone town hall to reach his constituents, and he has apparently abandoned in-person town halls.
Last week, Gardner ignored a reporter’s question, put to him five times in a row, about whether he’d hold an in-person town hall.
Constituents who sign up to be on Gardner’s telephone town-hall list, must agree to this statement, as written on Gardner’s telephone town-hall page, which was apparently added recently to his website.
By clicking the button below, I provide my signature expressly authorizing Senator Cory Gardner and Vekeo to contact me and send me information regarding their office, telephone meetings, upcoming events or other opportunities via live, automated or prerecorded calls, text messages or emails to my telephone number and email address that I entered above. I also agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Statement. In compliance with applicable ethics rules, we can only accept telephone meeting registrations from constituents of Senator Cory Gardner’s District.  I represent that I am a resident in Senator Cory Gardner’s District. I understand that my telephone service provider may impose charges for these contacts and that I can revoke this authorization at any time (see the “Events, Sign-Ups and Cancellations” section of the Terms of Use for more details).
“I want to hear from you,” Gardner wrote on the telephone-town-hall page of his website. “Get your questions ready and join me for live, interactive events.”
Let’s just hope you’re not the random person who doesn’t get selected.
And let’s hope you can make a 10 a.m. call, in the middle of the work week.
And let’s hope you’re not so enraged by Gardner’s refusal to face his constituents in person that you can’t bring yourself to pick up the phone when he calls. If he calls.