Ron holds 800th town hall

Ron enthusiastically engaged in his 800th town hall last Saturday, capping a busy eight-day stretch of public meetings statewide that Roll Call calculated was the most town halls held by any member of Congress last week.

His 800th town hall, held in Multnomah County, wrapped up a Feb. 18-25 schedule that included 11 town halls in Clackamas, Curry, Coos, Lane, Benton, Deschutes, Crook, Jefferson, Jackson and Clatsop counties.

I’ve never seen anything like the incredible turnouts at these town halls and the vocal enthusiasm for participatory democracy all over Oregon, Ron said.

“It’s clear these town halls are tapping into a deep vein of concern about the troubling direction of this White House,” he said, “and a need for answers on how we, as Oregonians,  can speak out and can push back, to preserve and protect ‘the Oregon way’ focusing on real problems and real solutions.”

At the 800th town hall in Portland, which attracted a standing-room-only crowd topping 3,000 people, Wheeler County Judge Jeanne Burch surprised Ron by coming over from Fossil.

She recalled how the senator surprised her 21 years ago when he called her to follow through on his campaign commitment: to hold an annual town hall in each of Oregon’s 36 counties. Ron told her then that he wanted to hold his first such town hall in Wheeler County, Oregon’s least populated county, and he’s followed through on his commitment every year since.

Since that first meeting, Ron’s Wheeler County town halls have featured ice cream on the courthouse lawn and cupcakes in the gym.

In between this past week’s busy schedule of town halls, Ron also had four roundtables on his rural health care listening tour, hearing from Oregon health care providers about the success of Oregon’s Medicaid program and the devastating impact of potential cuts to Medicaid on their patients

Those roundtables were on the south coast and in the mid-Willamette Valley, central Oregon and southern Oregon.