I’ve been very critical of Senator Heidi Heitkamp being something less than communicative with her constituents. Unlike Rep. Kevin Cramer, who does a weekly talk radio town halls, social media town halls and has held about a dozen in-person town halls in cities across the state, Senator Heitkamp (and Senator John Hoeven, for that matter) simply doesn’t like being open with her constituents.
Though she does like sending her political operatives to Rep. Cramer’s events, just in case he says or does something she and her political party can capitalize on.
But today, apparently responding to criticism over her derth of public question-and-answer events, Senator Heitkamp appeared on her brother’s Fargo-based talk radio show and took calls.
Which prompted Fargo-based Fox reporter Eric Crouch to ask me what I thought:
@robport @SenatorHeitkamp taking calls on @790KFGO right now…better than a Twitter town hall to you?
— Eric Crouch (@EricCrouchFOX) December 27, 2013
You’ve got to like the timing. Senator Heitkamp scheduled the event for a holiday week when most citizens are distracted (rightfully so) by friends and family. She also picked the friendly confines of her brother’s radio show.
It’s great that Senator Heitkamp finally trying to at least create the appearance of openness with her constituents, but her choice of timing and venue leaves much to be desired.
Senator Heitkamp is still freezing out Valley News Live’s Chris Berg. Senator Heitkamp still refuses to go on with conservative talkers Scott Hennen and Steve Bakken who replaced her brother on KFYR’s statewide radio network. Senator Heitkamp’s staff won’t even answer a simple question from me about what happened to the donation of her shutdown salary.
And Democrats who defend her decision to avoid her critics in the media should remember that Republicans regularly go on her brother Joel’s left-wing show. In fact, Joel Heitkamp gave almost daily verbal beatings to Heitkamp’s 2012 opponent Rick Berg for avoiding his show, but it’s both Heidi and her brother apply a different standard to her media appearances.