A Tale of Two Town Halls

September 9, 2009

It certainly isn’t the best of times but at least it isn’t the worst either.

This is not a tale of two cities. It’s a tale of two congressional districts, near Albany New York,  and how Town Halls are run in each of them.

First we have Paul Tonko. (D-NY-21) He preferred to hide during the summer recess and only would do a Town Hall when forced out by the media kicking and screaming.

Then there’s his neighbor to the north Scott Murphy,(D-NY20) who toured his district like a rock star. He even did two town halls on labor day.

Why do these two men take such an opposite strategy when doing their required Town Hall Meetings? I suspect it has more to do with Democrats pulling the strings in Washington than their personalities. After all Paul Tonko can afford to hide in his deep blue “yellow dog” Democratic District. But Scott Murphy may face a very hard rematch in 2010 against Republican challenger Jim Tedisco. So he pounds the pavement during the summer while Tonko can afford to hide.

To make matters worse The Times Union is fawning at Scott Murphy’s every move.


Murphy, D-Glens Falls, said he’d never seen so many signs. His calm demeanor helped keep the crowd from disintegrating into a shouting match. A few couldn’t keep their emotions in check and disrupted Murphy’s analysis of a House bill, H.R. 3200, which attempts to address the problem of more than 40 million uninsured Americans while holding the line on escalating health care costs.

Murphy voiced support for additional options for health insurance. He said he favors a “value-based pricing” model of health care delivery rather than the current “transaction model” that forces physicians to rush patients through an assembly-line system to boost reimbursements. He spoke like the former venture capitalist and small business owner he is.

Oh please, spare us. Perhaps the best thing about this tale is, now that Congress will be back in session, it’s finally over.

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