Broward News

Will Tea Party-Types Take Their Show on the Phone?

As the district staff of Congressman Ron Klein learned this week, South Florida legislators are at risk of having their town hall meetings mobbed by people who think Glenn Beck is sane. This group's current source of hysteria is the Democrats' health care reform plan. Or, as they might put it: his nefarious plot to make America a socialist nation.

And, to be clear, Klein's wasn't even a town hall meeting, per se, but rather a monthly meeting for constituents to interact with staff who need help with federal program. So God only knows what these folks will cook up for an actual town hall meeting.

Whatever it is, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is not going to find out.

The west Broward congresswoman will have a town hall meeting later this month, but it will be a "telephone town hall." So thousands of constituent phones will ring at the same time, and interested citizens will be free to press a key and then listen as Wasserman Schultz responds to questions from fellow constituents.

That venue will make it hard to chant "No healthcare coverage for illegals," or other refrains heard at Klein's meeting. Then again, with this group anything's possible.

Michael Liquerman, the press secretary for Wasserman Schultz's district office. says that the town hall was planned for the telephone before they heard about the mess at Klein's meeting.

"Health care is such an important issue right now, and with this type of town hall we can get several thousand people involved," says Liquerman, adding that the last town hall meeting in April in Weston attracted more than the room's 250-person capacity.

Liquerman said that no special arrangements are being made to deal specifically with the possibility of Beck-headed agitators. The exact day and time of the telephone town hall will be announced soon on Wasserman Schultz's website.

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Thomas Francis