The Kean Version of a Town Hall

One of the persistent Democratic criticisms of Rep. Thomas H. Kean Jr. has been his reluctance to interact with the public – unfiltered.

This was a big issue last fall given the fact that then Democratic incumbent Tom Malinowski held many “town halls” in which people raised their hands and asked whatever they wanted.

Kean held no such meetings during the campaign and was also averse to making his campaign schedule public.

This criticism failed to turn the election. Kean beat Malinowski in a newly-configured CD-7 by almost 9,000 votes.

Now that he’s in Congress, a group called “Tuesdays with Tom Kean Jr.” is continuing to dog him online and sometimes in person. One of their points is that Kean should meet constituents in a public setting.

This week, Kean did just that – sort of.

The congressman’s Facebook page on Wednesday included a message saying that more than “2,700 residents from six counties joined our telephone town hall last night. I answered a dozen questions and administered poll questions to hear from you directly on key issues.”

He cited a poll about expanding “one-seat rides,” or direct train service to Manhattan on the Raritan Valley line. Not surprisingly, most who answered wanted a one-seat ride. Wonders never cease.

Kean also thanked those who joined the call, adding that, “It is clear that affordability, infrastructure. innovation and safety are top of mind for many of us in New Jersey.”

All this is well and good, but there is some mystery here.

Just who was invited to the town hall?

The congressman’s Facebook page said nothing about the telephone town hall until it was over.

As for his congressional website, the latest press release was on March 21 about an art competition.

Many critics, commenting on Kean’s social media pages, complained that the town hall was not publicized in advance.

No press release was distributed, nor were CD-7 voters notified any other way. (Full Disclosure: I am a resident of CD-7).

An email and phone call to Kean’s office, asking about the town hall, and whether an audio of it will be posted, has not been returned.

Defenders of the congressman point out that many politicians – Phil Murphy among them – do not hold town halls.

In fairness, Murphy has not held a public town hall so far in his second term, but he did in his first term; I went to at least one of them.

No matter.

The political issue here for the congressman’s critics is that Kean apparently held a telephone town hall, but did not inform the general public.

So, who was told about it?

If there’s a simple misunderstanding here, the congressman’s office should clarify things.

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9 responses to “The Kean Version of a Town Hall”

  1. There was no town hall. Town halls are advertised. This was a secret. Kean is just another liar from the party of Trump.

  2. Which is why you should subscribe to your congress person’s facebook page and subscribe to their E-Letters page.

  3. I also receive his newsletter. There was absolutely NO mention of a town hall. What is included in the newsletter are “questions of the week” in which he asks a survey question. This is all well and good except for the fact that there is no way to actually answer this question. There is no link to click to submit your answer. Seems fitting for a politician who is a master at avoiding his constituents. I am so disappointed in my new congressman so far. Do better, Mr. Kean!

  4. This was NOT a Town Hall. A phony phone-in amongst his closest friends has nothing to do with meeting constituents. I take his newsletter and subscribe to his FB page. Nary a whiff about this ghost event.

  5. The game of hide and seek continues. Representative Kean, Jr. should know democracy is not a game. Our country is struggling with many issues. His clearly wants to keep his constituents in the dark and unrepresented.

  6. The fake town hall was a real scam. There was no notification on social media. The alleged randomized robo call to 50K constituents is implausible on its face and has yet to be verified. Kean Jr.’s arrogance is such that he couldn’t even be bothered to come up with a better scam.

  7. Congressman Leonard Lance used to hold frequent in-person town halls all over District 7. He wasn’t afraid to meet his constituents and hear first hand what we are concerned about. Telephone town halls are the cowards way of avoiding difficult questions because callers have to go through a screener. Rep. Kean wants the honor and prestige of being a member of congress without accepting the responsibility of actually meeting the people he is supposed to represent.

  8. Sad he is a coward. Malinowski was a gem. When they had to redistrict the lines to get Kean a win how pathetic. This does not surprise me at all.

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