Attending A Town Hall Meeting

To The Editor:

Recently, I attended my first town hall meeting, where I heard Dana Balter speak about her election campaign to represent the 24th Congressional District, which covers four counties: Cayuga, Wayne, Onondaga, and parts of my county, Oswego.

Attending the meeting was a big step for me, but I’m glad I went.

I’ve avoided politics most of my life, largely because I don’t have much faith in our election process.

Its prevailing two-party system often seems like a volleyball match: One side wins the power, which upsets the other side, who rallies to fight and regain power. Back and forth and back and forth.

Despite my frustration with the system, I’m trying to become a more informed voter. So, I attended Dana’s town hall. I was pleasantly surprised when she addressed this escalating political back and forth.

When asked if she would be a bipartisan congresswoman, in other words, would she work with “the other party,” Dana talked about the value of consensus.

She explained how she would seek to identify the aspects of an issue that both sides could agree on, using that as a starting point to continue working with her fellow elected officials until the issue is properly addressed.

Having worked in the human services field for much of my career, I know that coming to consensus is difficult; but I believe it is key to true problem-solving.

Another response from Dana that rang true had to do with social media and the rise of attack ads on websites such as Facebook. Dana accurately noted that there isn’t a lot we can do to stop this behavior, because it’s easy to make nasty comments or spread untruths from a computer.

Her preference is to meet people face-to-face, where policies and opinions can be openly discussed.

That’s why I was pleased to hear Dana’s offer to meet her challenger in a series of debates.

Her suggestion is to hold one in each of our district’s four counties and I sincerely hope that happens.

It would give us the opportunity to see and hear from the two people who are pledging to represent us in Washington.

Only then, I believe, will we be able to make an informed decision.

Jim Farfaglia