You can hear the audio version of the Tele Town Hall here. The text below was transcribed from this recording.
RF: I hope you’ll take this opportunity to share your thoughts, ideas, and opinions. I welcome them. If you’d like to ask me a question or make a comment, you can press the “0” key on your telephone at any time.
Before we begin, allow me to make a few introductory remarks while people get on the line. I conduct these live telephone town halls because it enables me to get thousands of people together at one time. And it gives everyone on the line… that is, gives everyone on the line, the opportunity to pass along a question or concern to me. I do them regularly and will continue to hold them. You can sign up from my website… sign up at my website, at frelinghuysen.house.gov. It’s available to everyone in the Congressional District.
In addition to my being <inaudible> every week, telephone town halls serve as a valuable tool for me to hear from over 700,000 people in the 54 towns of New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District. I’m here to listen to you. As I crisscross our Congressional District these days, I found people very engaged on almost every issue. From health care, to high taxes, to improving job opportunities, immigration, border security, national defense, ISIS, the needs of our veterans and their families, every issue. I look forward to hearing your comments on any issues you might want to discuss this evening. Again, please don’t hesitate to hit the “0” at any time to ask me a question or make a comment. And also please visit my website at frelinghuysen.house.gov. There you can sign up for me weekly e-newsletter and send <inaudible> emails, I’m listening.
Let’s take the first call from John in Morristown, thanks for getting on the line. John in Morristown.
We welcome all kinds of opportunities to meet with our Congressman, and any forum is an improvement on his silence so far. But transparent and accountable representation isn't conducted over the telephone and via form letters. It requires regular two-way dialogue between representatives and their constituents.
The telephone town halls Rep. Frelinghuysen has held are not promoted in advance or open to all constituents. Constituents are pre-selected from some list, called at random, without prior notice, and they are not accessible to people with hearing loss.
A tele-town hall without advance notice and open participation is merely a telephone press conference, not a true dialogue with constituents. In-person Town Halls are a staple of American democracy for which there is no substitute. The Congressman used to hold them up until 2013 - why did he stop?