Representative’S Strange Session Frustrates Debate

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We don’t mean to be cynical. We fight it. Honest we do. We pet puppies, watch children play in the park, vote every chance we get.

But still. It’s so hard sometimes.

Take First District Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick’s peculiar “meet the voters” session in a pair of folding chairs in front of the Safeway, while about 130 voters milled about in confusion in the 100-degree heat.

It seemed like an interesting idea on the face of it: Gather citizen input in a string of face-to-face conversations. Maybe she figured only 10 or 15 people would show up. Maybe she didn’t count on a hot summer day. Maybe she meant well. Heck, that’s what we figured at first, all in a rush to get home and pet the puppy.

But then we heard national reports that the House Democratic leadership had urged its members not to hold town halls back home. Apparently, the top Democrats fear that people opposed to health care reform would turn those town halls into events that would cripple the already troubled effort to reform our sometimes expensive, confusing, yet successful health care system.

Some national leaders apparently don’t want to hear what voters have to say. They don’t want to hear that most people, some polls say as high as 80 percent, are happy with their health care choices.

Make no mistake, there are problems with health care costs and parts of the system urgently need reform, but not the way Congress is approaching the problem. If reform has any chance, advocates must explain it every chance they get and allay the legitimate fears of voters.

Instead, Kirkpatrick talked to only a fraction of the people who showed up — and actually walked out of a similar session in Holbrook when participants said they couldn’t hear what she was saying in her private conversations and asked her to speak louder. Voters wanted to know what their elected representative was thinking.

Of course, Kirkpatrick hasn’t actually taken a position on health care reform, which is in keeping with her cautious effort to walk a fine political line in a district normally represented by Republicans. So, maybe she wasn’t trying to smother a possible debate as a result of the odd format of her meet-the-voters session.

Sure. That must be it. Just a coincidence.

Excuse us now, we’ve got to get home and pet the puppy.

Be part of history with 125th Annual World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo

When we celebrated the bicentennial and the millennium it was everyone’s celebration. Now Payson is celebrating the 125th Annual World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo and it is everyone’s celebration too. So, get out there and party the Old West way.

Start by going down to Green Valley Park tonight at 5 p.m. to take part in the Lasso for Literacy Ice Cream Social. Poets, storytellers and musicians promise an entertaining evening and there’s ice cream too.

Wednesday evening you can start the night at the free Rodeo Mixer at Chapman Auto Center, sponsored by Chapman and Dodge, then head over to the Payson Event Center for the first of two Ranch Rodeos with lots of entertaining events and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association-sanctioned competition.

Thursday night there is another Ranch Rodeo and WPRA event starting at 7 p.m. and a Wii Rock Band concert from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Chapman Auto Center.

The pro rodeo performances start Friday night with the Tough Enough To Wear Pink benefit for breast cancer research. Additional performances at the Payson Event Center will be held at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 15 and 1 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 16.

The big rodeo parade on Main Street is at 9 a.m., Saturday, starting at Green Valley Park and going east to Sawmill Crossing.

Plenty of dances and a special parties are planned too. Head to Rumsey Park after the parade to check out the Rodeo Reunion party. Put on your dancing boots and duds and see the action at Rim Country Mall at the youth and family dances, Friday and Saturday respectively, or make your way to the Oxbow Saloon Friday and Saturday nights.

Payson is the place to party in the Old West way this week and commemorate 125 years of rodeo tradition. Be a part of that history. It’s your rodeo.

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