Our opinion: Looking forward to a Markey town hall

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Congressional summer recess is a time for senators and representatives to embark on taxpayer-financed fact-finding missions to places like London, Paris and Rome — and failing that, to return home to take the temperature of their constituencies. In this spirit, one of our U.S. senators, Ed Markey, ventured out into the hinterland of Western Massachusetts last Monday to hold a town hall meeting. "Western" is a relative term, because he held it in Springfield — which Berkshirites are more likely to think of as Central Massachusetts. Nevertheless, we should give credit to a Bostonian like Senator Markey for making it that far.<In truth, he is an effective senator who ably and skillfully represents the interests of Bay Staters. Senator Markey did speak at the Four Freedoms Coalition rally in Pittsfield last January, but didn't take advantage of the opportunity to stay in the county for an in-depth schmooze with the locals (Maybe he was afraid of missing the weekly stage back to Boston). By contrast, Massachusetts' senior senator, Elizabeth Warren, has made two forays to the Berkshires this year, the most recent being a heavily-attended and boisterous town hall meeting (Eagle, July 9). If nothing else, that proves that Berkshirites are committed citizens who care about the country's direction and are eager to have their voices heard by their representatives in Washington.<br>Senator Markey's office released information that he has held town halls so far this year in Northampton, Worcester, Boston, Lexington and Cape Cod, and that future sites for the fall are yet to be determined. While eagle-eyed political buffs might have spied his Northampton appearance several months ago with the aid of a telescope from the summit of Mount Greylock, he should understand that the needs and aspirations of the Berkshires are not identical to those of the Connecticut Valley. The best way to learn about these distinctions is for the senator to hear them straight from constituents' mouths — and that would entail a personal appearance.<br>The Eagle attempted to contact Senator Markey's office to determine whether the senator was contemplating another westward trek but was unable to receive a response.<br>Massachusetts isn't exactly Montana. It really isn't so hard to cover all corners of the state in the course of a year. If the senator can be persuaded to put the Berkshires on his agenda this fall — and we fervently hope he can be — we suggest that he hold an actual town hall event where he can avail himself of the sentiments of average people. A meet 'n' greet hobnob with local movers and shakers — which is generally the preferred form of contact for congressional officials — won't suffice. <br>Senator Markey carried the Berkshires when he was last up for election. It would be courteous for the senator to return the favor and meet with his constituents here.<br>


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