By Miriam Raftery
February 11, 2017 (El Cajon) – As we reported Friday morning, a group of constituents presented Rep. Duncan Hunter’s office in El Cajon with a petition signed by 500 voters asking the Congressman to hold a public town hall meeting where they could share concerns on various issues. Hunter aide Joe Kasper told the Los Angeles Times that Hunter has held town hall meetings in the past, including telephone town halls.
East County Magazine asked Kasper to clarify when and where such town halls were held, noting that we did not recall hearing of any live town halls hosted by the Congressman that were open to the public, though he has spoken at Chamber of Commerce and Tea party events. Specifically, we asked Kasper to document the dates, times, locations and organizations hosts of all town hall meetings since Hunter took office. We asked if any town halls were open to the general public, and asked for notification of any future town halls.
Kasper responded Friday afternoon with an e-mail in which he said Hunter has held town halls but did not provide details of any town hall meeting that Hunter’s office organized which was open to the public, only appearances by Hunter at job fairs he hosted or events organized by other groups.
Kasper indicated that while Hunter he “not against doing a town hall if the schedule allows” his schedule is busy. He added that Hunter would “listen and be respectful but he won’t take crap from anyone,” an apparent reference to the vociferous nature of some town halls held recently by Congressional members in other districts around the country.
Below is Kasper’s reply in full:
“He’s had them – I guess it’s just a matter of paying attention to the announcements. I recall on most occasions, groups or entities have hosted them, and it’s a matter of Hunter showing up. He’s also done them connected to job fairs he’s hosted.
And in the case of the current requests, he’s considering doing one in short order. But it all depends on what the schedule will allow. But if the schedule will accommodate it, it will be open to the public and not any one particular group.
Also, contact in the office has been routine. Almost every week, we receive on average 1700-2000 emails. Last two weeks we’ve been at the higher end but it’s within the standard window of contact. Same for phone calls. There are also a lot of repeat callers. We make sure that Hunter is always aware of the contact and feedback—and he said he’s not against doing a town hall if the schedule allows. But we are in session in DC almost 5-days a week through April. Next week is the only open week but he’s committed to engagements already—some several months out, that he’s unwilling to break. So, as I said, if the schedule allows for it, he’ll consider doing one and one thing you know about Hunter—he’ll listen and be respectful but he won’t take crap from anyone.”