Members of Congress use recess to return to their districts and interact with constituents through town hall meetings and local events. But how many constituents are politicians actually reaching? According to an August Rasmussen Poll, only 35 percent of people have ever attended a political town hall meeting, proving a vast majority of constituents will not interact with their Congressman or Senator. This places the onus on Members to promote their recess activities through their Website and other digital means.
During August recess, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) travelled throughout Virginia meeting with constituent groups. The Senator attended 40 events and logged more than 1,600 miles on his odometer. In order to promote his travels, the Senator’s staff created a 90 second video highlighting events and towns the Senator visited throughout the Commonwealth.
Congressman Zack Space (D-OH), in his second term representing central and southeast Ohio, posted a series of videos on his Facebook and Youtube pages through the month of August. Speaking in front of southeast Ohio landmarks, the Congressman discussed issues affecting his district and the ways in which his actions in Congress have positively affected the lives of his constituents.
While not using video, Congressman Jerry Moran (R-KS) – who is currently running for Senate in Kansas – continuously updates his Congressional Facebook page with pictures of him meeting with constituents in his district. The Congressman also posts the photos on his official Congressional Website.
As long as it is not one month before an election, recess is an opportunity for Members of Congress to reconnect with their constituents. But it is impossible to meet with all voters directly, and Members need to do a better of job of selling their connection to the community. With anti-Washington attitudes enveloping the country, Members that use digital channels to showcase their connection with their district, will be best positioned to weather the anti-establishment storm. As former Speaker Tip O’Neil said, “all politics is local”, and now opportunities are available to showoff how local you are.