Town hall meetings have long been a way for constituents to hear from their Representatives and Senators face-to-face, and to likewise raise their most pressing policy concerns. Is there a tradeoff between legislators spending their time and effort on town halls instead of focusing their energies on other important policymaking activities? New analysis from the Center for Effective Lawmaking (CEL) Faculty Affiliate Andrew J. Clarke and his co-author Daniel Markovits addresses this question by drawing on more than 23,000 town hall meetings over the past eight years.
The authors find that the least successful lawmakers hold the fewest town hall meetings. Representatives and Senators who hold the most town halls are the same elected officials who introduce the most bills dealing with meaningful (non-commemorative) policy issues. This finding is consistent with the argument that those Representatives and Senators who hold the most town halls try to address needs raised by their constituents during these meetings.
To learn more, read the full report here.