Letter: Lawmakers should attend public forums

Thank you, Todd Dorman, for your “Skipping forums is bad form” column on Thursday, March 30, regarding the Republican lawmakers skipping the last legislative forum in Cedar Rapids.

You are so right when you pointed out that public officials need to share their views in public settings. These forums have been sponsored by the League of Women Voters for many years and are definitely not run by far left liberals.

Lawmakers, please respect all voters by attending. It is important that all sides of issues be aired in public and that you do not insulate yourselves from the diversity of views that Iowans have. Yes, sometimes the discussions can be spirited. This is to be expected in a democracy.

I would encourage all participants to maintain civility so that everyone can listen. Representing all voters is difficult by design and seldom will all be pleased with the results. After votes are cast and bills passed, I expect lawmakers on all sides to have the decency and fortitude to explain their positions to the voters in settings like this forum.

It is equally important that lawmakers from all parties participate together. The last forum of 2017 is April 15 and I encourage all to attend.

Finally, I want to express my gratitude to the League of Women Voters for their constant efforts to promote public discussion.

Jeff Barnes

Cedar Rapids

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