By Congressman Bradley Byrne
Eleven town hall meetings. Over 700 miles. Six counties. Eight visits. Those are just a few of the numbers from my past week on the road in Southwest Alabama.
The House was out of session last week for a District Work Period. Some people call these weeks “recess,” but they are far from relaxing for me. In fact, these days often go from sun up to sun down with multiple stops a day. Here is a recap from my past week.
My town hall meetings were the highlight of the past week. I held 11 town hall meetings in just four days with stops in Wilmer, Stapleton, Satsuma, Atmore [Poarch], Brewton, Alabama Port, Daphne, Foley, Excel, Grove Hill, and Wagarville.
For me, the town hall meetings are all about listening. I do not give a speech. Instead, I open the floor up for questions and comments from those in attendance. Questions covered everything from local transportation projects to veterans’ issues to education to national security. The biggest topic the past week was health care, and I heard from people on all sides of the issue.
I was especially excited that our town hall meetings garnered national attention. CBS News sent their Chief Congressional Correspondent down to our area to observe a day of my town hall meetings. They put together a great recap for CBS This Morning that showcased the wonderful people who call Southwest Alabama home.
I have now held 87 town hall meetings since being elected to Congress, which ranks me toward the top of all Members of Congress. While some town halls around the country have gotten out of hand, I take great pride in the fact that our discussions are for the most part civil and polite. Of course, I will not agree with every person on every issue, but we can disagree without being rude or disruptive. I think that is a testament to our people and our hospitality.
I also used last week to host my annual Workshop for High School Leaders on the University of South Alabama campus. This event allows students from our area to learn more about government, the economy, media, and workforce development. We had over 200 students at this year’s event, which concluded with a question and answer session.
I was especially excited to spend time last week speaking to local Boy Scouts and their families at the Golden Eagle Dinner in downtown Mobile. As the proud dad of two Eagle Scouts, I am proud to support scouting programs.
I also used this District Work Periods to spend time at local businesses. For example, I visited Synergy Laboratories near Tillman’s Corner. I was absolutely blown away by the work they are doing with medical testing and research. Synergy is a locally grown business, and they are rapidly expanding.
I also visited the Gulf Coast Cancer Center in Brewton to learn more about the important work they are doing in the fight against cancer. This particular center provides radiation treatment for a large population, including those in more rural communities.
The best part about the District Work Periods is being able to listen directly to you – the people I represent. I do not represent anyone in Washington, so it is critically important I spend time traveling all across our district, not just to the big cities like Mobile, but to all the communities.
I will always make it a top priority to listen to your ideas and concerns, and I hope you will continue to show up to my town hall meetings, to call my office, and to reach out and let your voice be heard.