To the Editor:
Imagine throwing a party for more than 700 people, at a house that wasn’t yours for people you didn’t know. That’s what it was like to host the 14th Congressional District Q-&-A on April 18 at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles.
The League of Women Voters had to tread a tightrope in order to pull off the event without a hitch. And there were almost 50 members of five different Leagues involved in making certain the event was true to the League’s nonpartisan political nature. We had seven issues specialists from various Leagues to act as question reviewers.
We must have done a pretty good job since there were complaints from both sides stating that the League allowed Congressman Randy Hultgren “to hide under their very wide skirts” by not “making him answer the questions.”
To those who said we were “abhorrent in our inability to control the disrespectful booers who were jeering at their congressman," we could neither make Congressman Hultgren answer the questions nor make those in the crowd stop the raucous behavior in order to have the answers heard ... nor have the opportunity to have more questions asked by the moderator.
Thank you League issues specialist Hilary Denk for acting as moderator.
The staff from Rep. Hultgren’s office reached out to the League of Women Voters of Central Kane County after several of our members met with him to discuss their concerns over the Affordable Care Act being changed/lost/rescinded. This prompted the 14th Congressional District constituents Q-&-A. We agreed to host the event and invite Rep. Hultgren. But we would only do it following the League’s rules and on our terms.
We hold events to educate the public on the issues and the positions your representatives (or candidates for political posts) have. All in all, I think the event went very well. It was a large crowd – more than 700 people, according to the Arcada staff counters. Many thanks to Ron Onesti for opening the doors of his house, the beautiful Arcada Theatre, and affording the community the opportunity to see democracy in action.
And, finally, thank you to Rep. Randy Hultgren for being – we believe – the first sitting Republican U.S. congressman from Illinois to meet with 700-plus constituents of yours at one time.
Patricia Hayes Lackman
Voter service chair/vice president of the League of Women Voters of Central Kane County