According to Roll Call, Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold has held more town hall meetings this year than any other U.S. Senator, a fact that should come as a surprise to no one here in Wisconsin, given the fact that Sen. Feingold promised during his first campaign that he’d visit each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties at least once every year he was in office.
Feingold has held 69 listening sessions this year, with his 70th scheduled for June 26th. According to the report, the next closest senator has held 37 meetings this year. During his first campaign for the U.S. Senate, Feingold pledged to hold listening sessions in every one of Wisconsin’s 72 counties each year, and he has followed through on that pledge, having held 1,293 town hall-style meetings to date.
“Listening to people from every part of Wisconsin is the most important part of being a senator, and it’s also my favorite part of my job,” Feingold said. “My commitment to holding these listening sessions is something I look forward to keeping every year as a way to understand the issues that matter to the people of Wisconsin.”
At the meetings, Feingold makes brief opening remarks and then opens up the floor to whatever topics attendees wish to discuss. The meetings are open to the public and Feingold listens, takes notes and responds to each person who speaks. Since 1993, Feingold has met with about 69,110 Wisconsinites who have attended listening sessions. Over the course of his career, Feingold has logged over 181,000 miles, equal to almost six-and-half times around the planet – all within Wisconsin.
I’m sure some of my more conservative readers will argue Sen. Feingold doesn’t actually listen during his listening sessions, I don’t see many of our other elected officials – whether Democrats or Republicans – taking as much time as Sen. Feingold to hear what their constituents have to say.