February 18, 2009

Wyden Holds 500th Town Hall Meeting

Returns to Wheeler County community of Fossil, site of his first town hall meeting 13 years ago

Fossil, OR - Marking a milestone in a promise he made to Oregonians 13 years ago, Senator Ron Wyden held his 500th town hall yesterday in the Wheeler County community of Fossil, the site of his first town hall in 1996. County Judge Jeanne Burch welcomed Wyden and read a proclamation from Governor Kulongoski declaring February 17, 2009 to be "Ron Wyden 500th Town Hall Day."

"The people of Fossil along with the tens of thousands of Oregonians who have attended these town halls over the years have helped make me a better senator," Wyden told the audience of approximately 125 at Wheeler County High School. "By throwing open the doors of democracy in every Oregon county every year, I've made lasting friendships while learning firsthand what is on the minds of the people I serve."

The Fossil town hall was the fulfillment of Wyden's promise, made in 1996 as a candidate for the United States Senate, to hold a town hall meeting in every single Oregon county during each year he holds office. The first town hall of 2009 was held in Klamath County on January 24. In addition to the 500th town hall in Fossil, Wyden held similar events yesterday in Condon (Gilliam County) and Moro (Sherman County).

After presenting student body President Justin Phillips with an American flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol at the Fossil event, Wyden fielded questions about such issues as the economic recovery package and its potential to boost jobs and education in the state. The celebration continued after the question and answer period with a presentation of four cakes baked by the home economics students at the high school. Two cakes commemorated the beginning and end dates of Wyden's 13-year span of town halls, with one decorated to read "February 17, 1996" and another "February 17, 2009."

For a complete list of Wyden's town hall meetings, go to: