Stories of congressional lawmakers going years without holding a town hall meeting, or otherwise refusing to meet with their constituents, are many.
Think what one will about his politics, but Connecticut senator Chris Murphy can’t be accused of being an absentee representative.
During a recent four-day span, Murphy walked 70 miles through 15 towns, holding pop-up town halls along the way.
This was his third “Walk Across Connecticut,” so the junior senator was well aware that he wouldn’t encounter only supporters out there.
But he walked anyway.
“I gotta be out talking to everybody in the state,” the Cheshire Democrat said, “the people who are plugged in politically and the people who are not.”
Murphy’s recent trek brought him to the Meriden Senior Center on Saturday, July 7. Around 100 people came out to hear him speak and perhaps ask a question.
Attendees talked about healthcare, immigration, Social Security, the opioid crisis, even the state of urban farming in the state.
Murphy said most of the people he met along his route are concerned about their ability to pay bills, the “economic bread and butter issues.”
“People are working in the state and yet they’re struggling to make ends meet and that’s what they want to talk to me about,” said Murphy, who is seeking re-election in November.
“I try to keep this walk separate from the campaign because I enjoy doing this every year as a means to be a better senator,” the soon-to-be 45-year-old said.
To be sure, Murphy sees himself as a presidential contender at some point. And the public spectacle of walking across the state is good for his image.
He’s a politician after all.
Still, the senator deserves credit for pounding the pavement and listening to residents’ concerns. That’s what elected officials are supposed to do.