Bob Thorpe’s Weak Tele-Townhall
Representative Bob Thorpe (LD-6) announced in a condescending and rude press release plans for a “tele townhall” on March 17 on a commercial talk radio show hosted by a former conservative City of Flagstaff Councilman. This is disingenuous and undemocratic for several reasons.
First, it is ridiculous to interact with constituents over a commercial, conservative radio show and call it democratic public engagement. This is commercial radio; the added listeners would add to the show’s ratings. Thorpe should meet with his constituents in person.
Second, to date Thorpe has refused dialogue with those with whom he disagrees despite multiple formal invitations sent via snail mail and email. We invited Thorpe to meet with us on either March 3rd or March 24th. We offered to make all the arrangements, and we even reserved the public library. In fact, many constituents called requesting meetings. In each attempt we were told Thorpe does not meet with constituents in a rude and dismissive way by his staff. Thorpe never extended us the courtesy of a reply to our invitations. Instead, we read about this ‘townhall’ on the 17th through the condescending press release.
Third, Thorpe hung up on constituents the last time he was on this conservative radio show. We heard him calling constituents ‘crackpots’ over a hot mic. In interviews, he’s referred to constituents as ‘crazy’ and our organization as a ‘far left flaming organization’. This name-calling is unbecoming an elected official. His constituents are hardworking community members. We are small business owners, parents, professionals, and patriots. We do not deserve this abuse from our elected official. Why would we expect different behavior from him now? Why would we call in only to be called names?
Fourth, Thorpe refused to meet with high school students from Flagstaff when they went to the Capitol for Environmental Day. While other groups of students went off to meet their elected officials, the Flagstaff kids were left sitting in a room while their representative (who was at the capitol that day) refused a meeting; this is unconscionable and speaks to Thorpe’s character and disdain for his constituents.
Finally, Thorpe scheduled this ‘townhall’ during Flagstaff’s and NAU’s Spring Break when many are out of town, showing he is either out of touch with the community or is purposefully scheduling for when many will be gone. This is precisely why we suggested March 3 or March 24 because we knew that constituents in a major population center of Thorpe’s district would be traveling on the 17th. Thorpe apparently did not know or did not care.
Bob Thorpe has shown time and again he does not truly want to represent all his constituents nor does he want to engage in meaningful dialogue. This piece of political theater is the latest in a long history of dismissive and undemocratic behavior from Bob Thorpe.
Lori P. President Together We Will, Northern Arizona on behalf of 1700+ members