Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick and the ‘Pay-to-Play’ Town Hall

It is unacceptable for a lawmaker to make their constituents pay to interact with them.

Early during the Trump presidency, there was a now-defunct group called the Town Hall Project. That group recognized that representative democracies are based on the interactions of lawmakers and their constituents, and they tracked the frequency of town halls by congressional district, and also set up a basic list of minimum standards for lawmakers to abide by for their events to be considered a town hall. That list looked like this:

AD 4nXdiCNt4ye59uhr99InW6JlloV4WTj47E KViiMvhb1tIScJOASyz19SSzIJyBi5zcadKLX2FBgsB J1Kny2mXF0hKpVvkpKmpz9oGqWsIUna81L0caNIFllexCcLB IG2gkSZqtSPvmTM5nAKaiTBprsyU?key= LZC yLu82z92ojWKE YTg - Bucks County Beacon - Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick and the ‘Pay-to-Play’ Town Hall

This list came to mind this week when I learned that Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick – who has never held a town hall that met these basic minimum standards – was going to be giving a “State of the Union” speech, and that one must pay to attend (or be a paying member of the Chamber of Congress to get in for free).

Fitzpatrick held a similar event earlier this month for a different chapter of the Chamber of Commerce. I attempted to get a recording of that event but was told by an editor of a local paper who had attended the event that recording was not permitted. And when I followed up with the hosting organization, I was told that they had indeed recorded the event, but it was not available at the moment. They told me they might put it up on their Youtube account. It is not yet available for review.

READ: The Bucks County Herald Needs to Stop Writing What Amounts to Press Releases for Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick’s Reelection Campaign

It is unacceptable for a lawmaker to make their constituents pay to interact with them. That’s not how representative democracy is supposed to work!  But I have ceased being angry at Brian Fitzpatrick for this. He has seen that he will pay no electoral consequences for his cowardice and his avarice. He lacks any sort of shame, because having that feeling is considered a moral failing within his party these days.

Instead, I’d rather enumerate the questions that I think we, the voters of Pennsylvania’s First Congressional District, are owed answers to before we place our votes for Congress this year.

Fitzpatrick should have to face these questions in a town hall. But at the very least, I would hope that you, the voter, would think twice about him if he has not answered any of these questions in public  before Election Day.

Top 10 Questions for Brian Fitzpatrick to answer before Election Day:

  1. Will you endorse Donald Trump for president in 2024 even after his criminal convictions?
  2. Do you plan on voting for Donald Trump again?
  3. What do you think of Project 2025 and the plans to abolish the nonpartisan civil service as we know it?
  4. Where do you stand on the issue of Christian Nationalism, and the attempts to tear down the wall separating church and state?
  5. Why did you vote to cut funding for law enforcement in the debt ceiling bill, thus “defunding the police?”
  6. Why did you vote twice for a Speaker of the House like Jim Jordan, who was a January 6th advocate and a legislator who has literally never passed one of his own bills in his decade plus in office?
  7. Do you believe the results of the 2020 election?
  8. Do you think that the January 6th participants who are imprisoned after their convictions are “hostages”?
  9. Do you think the federal government is being “weaponized”?
  10. Do you think that Supreme Court Justices should have to abide by a code of ethics?

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Picture of Kierstyn Zolfo

Kierstyn Zolfo

Kierstyn Zolfo is a volunteer organizer with Indivisible Bucks County and Pennsylvania Indivisible. She and her husband live in Newtown Township.

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