By Charles Small PCAM
Communicating with Dave Brat only through robo-letters or pop-up facebook townhalls leaves him disconnected from his constituents. There is no replacement for the openness that a town hall, panel discussion, or debate can provide. Not being able to compare and contrast his viewpoints with an opposing candidate leaves many of us not understanding his relative view on subject matter.
When I attended his town hall in Chesterfield last year, I sat quietly to the side among a swath of empty seats waiting to hear Dave Brat’s platform. The crowd attempted to dictate the conversation, but I recall a response from the Congressman regarding over-regulation in an attempt to find a common ground for discussion. Members of the crowd only returned confused looks to these comments; “If you build a house today, can you name me one part of a house, made of ten thousand parts, can you name me one part that is not regulated? Didn’t think so… and you are saying I am pure free market? In my dreams I am pure free market. I wish we had any free markets.”
Seeing as I personally deal with extensive regulations in my professional life, I grasp the absurdities of over-regulation, as well as the need for many of the regulations on the books. On any given day, my company – or one of my clients, have either been under investigation or threatened with a citation due to regulations ranging from alleged fair-housing to federal gas-pipeline transportation violations.
On the other hand – I am well aware of the affects of deregulating an industry, such as removing the journeyman requirement for roofers. This lead to a shortage of skilled roofers in our local economy.
From white collar to blue collar, we all appreciate the need for our respective industries to be subjected to reasonable regulations. Seeing a scorecard given by an outside political watchdog, giving him high scores for being small business friendly by limiting regulation, leaves me wondering, is it based solely on voting against any or all regulations – or does he actually consider their reasonable value? This would be a question to ask the Congressman in an open-forum atmosphere.
Dave Brat accused his predecessor of being out of touch with constituents, but the Congressman hasn’t held a town hall or any pre-announced events in nearly a year. The events that the Congressman does attend, are usually closed to the public and require some sort of pre-registration and a fee. The Congressman is facing a touch election this November, he will have to engage with constituents soon if he wants a shot at keeping his job.