Town hall meeting offers upclose politics

Published 3:38 pm Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I’m probably more interested in politics than most Americans.

Daily, I check CNN’s politics page to see what’s happening with John McCain and Barack Obama. I read Time and Newsweek when I get the chance. “The West Wing” is probably my all-time favorite TV show, and sometimes I’m even able to understand political cartoons.

There is a problem with all this, though. My political interest pretty much stops when you get past the national level. I’ve never been that enamored with state and local government even though, really, what my state and my city does probably affects me a lot more than what the national government does.

I’m quickly growing more interested in local government because that knowledge is necessary for me to be able to competently do my job. Compared to those that have been following state and local government for years, though, I’m a neophyte. I know basically nothing.

That’s why I’m looking forward to Helena’s town hall meeting with Congressman Spencer Bachus on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

As an eight-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives who has also served in Alabama’s state government, Bachus has unparalleled knowledge of how both national government and Alabama government works.

Of course, Bachus represents Shelby County and its interests. According to those who have lived in this county much longer than I have, such as Helena Mayor Sonny Penhale, Bachus has done a good job of it.

I want to see what kind of questions Bachus will be asked by the citizens he represents, and I want to hear the answers he comes up with. I especially want to see how many people will show up.

Thus far this year, residents of Shelby County haven’t done too well with exercising their right to vote. Voter turnout has consistently been in the single digits.

I think people would vote more if they knew more. Getting out and going to the Helena City Hall for this town hall meeting with Bachus would be a good start.

While the meeting is in Helena, it’s intended for everyone in the county to attend. I’ll definitely attend, and I hope a lot of you will too.

Take an interest in politics and government. You might be surprised how interested you are.