Lawmakers Trade the Town Hall for Job Fairs
(Christian Science Monitor) — With unemployment locked in double digits in many congressional districts, the defining political event of the summer for many members of Congress is becoming the jobs fair, sponsored by lawmakers to connect constituents with actual hiring prospects. The concept has taken off with conservative Republicans as well as liberal Democrats serving some of the poorest communities in America. The political advantages are two-fold: The events cast members as doing something about the nation’s jobs crisis while at the same time shielding them from public confrontations with angry voters. It means town-hall meetings – once a staple of the congressional summer season – are now in decline thanks to the testy summer of 2009, when health-care protests helped launch the tea party movement and provided endless grist for opposition campaign ads.