WILLIAM NANGLE: Visclosky's listening, not just talking

2013-01-22T00:00:00Z WILLIAM NANGLE: Visclosky's listening, not just talkingBy William Nangle nwitimes.com
January 22, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Mark Lopez is the warm-up act.

Pete Visclosky is the star.

For as many years as I can remember, the Northwest Indiana congressman has been listening to his constituents at community forums.

He’s been on his annual tour this month with stops as diverse as East Chicago and Crown Point.

I decided I was overdue in attending one of his forums, so I opted to sit in as he visited Lowell’s town hall.

As I said, Lopez, Visclosky’s chief of staff, got things rolling with a greeting and telling what to expect.

An eighth-grader from Lowell Middle School led a nearly capacity crowd in the pledge of allegiance.

And then Visclosky, or Pete as most of those attending called him, starts answering questions – written and verbal.

What about closing the post office in Shelby?

“Well, the post office (system) is bankrupt. Something has to give,” he concedes while understanding local concerns.

How about the Illiana Expressway? It is, after all, not a federal project, Visclosky notes. But “the benefit is to relieve traffic on the Borman and U.S. 30.”

The obvious national issues of the day get equal time. The escalating debt. The future of Social Security and Medicare.

The congressman takes his time, answering with facts and his view on each issue.

No issue gets a louder response than gun control. It is quickly obvious the crowd wants no part of further controls.

One man rises, saying, “I worry that honest, hardworking people who need guns to protect” won’t be able to have them.

As the crowd gathers steam expressing its opposition, another man speaks as he nears tears. “Children are the most important,” he says. Oddly, the man who says he has a granddaughter at the middle school argues guns are needed to protect children.

Visclosky does a professional politician’s job of recognizing the need to observe the Second Amendment right to bear arms while advocating doing what is prudent to protect the public from incidents like that in Newtown, Conn.

The bottom line for Visclosky’s forums is he’s listening. It’s part of the job he was elected to do.

Whether the folks at the Lowell forum will influence Visclosky’s actions in Washington is uncertain, but they can rest assured they had ample opportunity to voice their views.

As for the congressman, he sums it up this way: “This is a democratic process. I take these sessions seriously.”

William Nangle is executive editor of The Times. He can be reached at The Times, 601 45th St., Munster, IN 46321 or at bill.nangle@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Latest Local Offers

Featured Businesses

Submit a Letter to Editor

We welcome letters from readers on any issue of public interest, and make every effort to publish as many as we can and in a timely manner. The Times will publish only one letter a month from a writer, and be sure to include your name, address and a telephone number for verification. Letters should be 150 words or less. They will be edited.

Letters may be submitted:
  • Via our submission form.
  • Via e-mail.
  • Via fax: (219) 933-3249 or (219) 465-7298
  • Via mail or by hand to our offices:
    • 601 45th Ave., Munster, IN 46321
    • 2080 N. Main St., Crown Point, IN 46307
    • 1111 Glendale Blvd., Valparaiso, IN 46383
    • 3410 Delta Dr., Portage, IN 46368
    • Please mark envelopes with "Attn: Letters"

Questions?

Email Editorial Page Editor Doug Ross or call (219) 548-4360 or (219) 933-3357

Poll

Loading…

Should Hammond police restore full-time participation in the Region STOP Team?

View Results