Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rep. Wagner Is Too Quick to Judge and Too Slow to Talk with Her Constituents

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rep. Wagner Is Too Quick to Judge and Too Slow to Talk with Her Constituents

Article excerpt

I watched Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, on a rare local interview last week and was disheartened to hear that she is receiving vulgarity-laced death threats and being stalked at home and church by some disturbing mask-wearing protesters. That is troubling and unfair to her as well as her neighbors and fellow parishioners.

It is also unfair to those of us who make polite phone calls and seek to engage her in a productive, respectful manner, as it is providing her a justification for not responding. I attended the May 9 town hall that she did not. More than 500 people signed a petition asking her to appear, and 200 were there. Her response to the event was to declare the get-together "bogus" and those who attended "radical leftists." I was initially very offended by such name-calling. But now I see why she was so quick to judge.

Still, her rush to judgment is unfair. There were no threatening militants. The constituents in attendance were respectful, informed and passionate. They were eager for answers and frustrated by their representative's aloofness. (Wagner has had exactly zero in-person town halls during her three terms in Congress.)

Isn't this a sad reflection on the nature of our nation's political discourse today? We have all been treated unfairly. We aren't even trying to listen to each other anymore. On the Allman Report, Rep. Wagner proudly defended her health care vote and offered reassurance that pre-existing conditions were covered under the American Health Care Act. Why won't she make that argument directly to her constituents? Or even to a media outlet whose viewership is slightly less sympathetic?

Rep. Wagner also pledged during the interview with Jamie Allman to meet with any of her constituents who were well-intentioned. But she has declined numerous requests for such meetings from the local Indivisible St. Louis group that formed post-election. Sen. Roy Blunt's office has warmly welcomed members of the Indivisible group each Wednesday since mid-January a routine his staff would certainly cease if they felt threatened or harassed. …

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