Interactive Phone Town Hall Utilizes New Technology to Reach Out to Thousands
WASHINGTON - Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) reported that his first telephone town hall meeting, which he conducted on the evening of Tuesday, May 1, fulfilled his hope of providing an additional forum to communicate directly with his 5th district constituents and allow citizens an opportunity to voice their views and questions about issues important to them. More than 2,000 participants from across Southern Maryland joined the telephone town hall at some point during the 45-minute call to hear Rep. Hoyer address a range of topics and take part in an interactive question and answer session.
"It is my duty and obligation to be accessible and responsive to those who I represent," stated Rep. Hoyer in a released statement. "By all measures, I would say the telephone town hall provides one of the most effective means to reach out to thousands of people and provide them with a convenient forum to participate in our representative democracy."
Utilizing a relatively new computer-generated conference call technology, the telephone town hall - which operates like a large-scale conference call - takes a modern approach to the traditional town hall meeting. At the outset of Tuesday's town hall, a random selection of 5th CD households received a call from Rep. Hoyer with an invitation to participate in his first telephone town hall meeting. Those who chose to stay on the phone heard five minutes of opening remarks by Rep. Hoyer, followed by a 40-minute question and answer period. Several participants also joined independently having obtained information in advance about how to dial in to the call.
"I know that family, work, school, other obligations, and lack of transportation often make it difficult for people to come to a traditional town hall meeting, so when I learned that we could conduct one over the phone without people leaving the comfort of their homes, I jumped at the opportunity," wrote Rep. Hoyer in a released statement. "The response to my telephone meeting - both during the call and after - has been incredibly positive."
You can listen to a recording of the town hall by going to: http://www.iconstituent.com/streams/hoyer-itownhall-050107.asx (May not function properly for non-Windows users).