Omaha World Herald: Civility Needed at Town Hall Meetings

Mar 15, 2017
In The News

Republican U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, who represents most of eastern Nebraska, including Bellevue and Lincoln, skillfully handled a town hall meeting Monday that could have gotten out of hand.

Fortenberry, whose town halls regularly draw 150 to 200 people, hosted 1,200, including organized protesters who at times tried to shout down his replies.

Fortenberry responded to their anger with calm. He repeatedly reminded the crowd they were there to have a discussion. He answered tough questions from critics frustrated about health care, immigration and more.

Fortenberry was smart to minimize grandstanding by retaining control of the only microphone in the room. Town halls should foster a healthy exchange of ideas, not enable political grandstanding.

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