Town Hall meetings popular on the Peninsula

In the day of light speed communication, social media, e-mail, texting and hand held communication devices, residents of the Kenai Peninsula have shown that they still like the 18th century style town hall meeting to express their political views and concerns. On a beautiful early spring Friday and Saturday afternoon capacity crowds in Homer and Soldotna turned out for town hall meetings called by state senator Peter Micciche. With the 90 day legislative session past the half way mark and meaningful legislation on the move, the senator brought an update on what’s happening in Juneau, then listened past the allotted time for the event until every concern had been expressed. “I love it and am very proud of our district and their involvement in the legislative process,” Micciche said in an interview following the meeting. “I can actually quantify the fact that we have the most active constituency in the state. Our survey response was three times that of any other district and each time we have a town hall meeting we have had a packed house,” he stated. Micciche says it’s not just a friendly crowd that he comes to hear from, “They may not like a thing that I’m doing and they’ll say so, but it gives me a chance to explain the position I have come too and if they still don’t like what I’m doing that’s exactly why we have an electoral process.”

One constituent expressed her appreciation for the meeting during the session because she said that in all the years she has lived in Alaska and worked on the Kenai Peninsula she has never been able to afford a trip to Juneau to express her opinions in person. “I think this style of meeting is more important than ever. We send e-mails and do a newsletter regularly and people can watch us on Gavel to Gavel on their devices but I think to some extent people are becoming desensitized through technology and I think this still makes it real that I come and face the people that I work for everyday and have them ask the tough questions and I owe it to them to personally explain how I vote on every issue,” concluded Micciche.