Last Saturday, a group of local resident’s engaged in a peaceful exercise of the First Amendment and shared some of their views regarding the current state of politics in the Eighth District. 

One of their concerns was a lack of accessibility they felt with their representative. Jason Smith’s Washington D.C. office contacted The Rolla Daily News and Mark Roman, the Deputy Chief of Staff for the congressman’s team, offered his response.

“Around the country there certainly are members of Congress who are shying away from public interactions,” said Roman. “That’s not the reality in South-Central Missouri.”

Roman said that Jason Smith’s congressional schedule is largely what prevents him from having regular meetings in person throughout the year. He did say that Smith held open town hall meetings in December and January to discuss healthcare and tax reform, but his time in DC requires him to budget his time.

“The congressional calendar varies from year to year,” said Roman. “During an election year the schedule tends to be a lot lighter. Last year he had at least a dozen town halls…but that’s because he had the time and schedule. When we’re here in DC for an extended period…people have asked us to do these telephone town halls…”

According to Roman, these telephone-based town halls are conducted while Jason Smith is in D.C. Constituents are given a cold call, letting them know the conference will begin in fifteen minutes to a half hour. Roman also said the best way to become aware of these telephone town halls is to follow their social media or to subscribe to the congressman’s newsletter.

As far as physical appearances go, Roman said they “will have a couple of weeks over Easter where [he believes] the congressman plans on traveling the district as much as possible.”

He cautions that U.S. Rep. Smith will likely have to balance his time between mayors and other elected officials who want to meet with him, as well as local school groups and farmers, but he guarantees Smith will have some sort of public appearances over those two weeks.

“Rolla is a very important area for congressman Smith,” said Roman. “Folks are always more than welcome to share their views and concerns.”

U.S. Rep. Smith’s Rolla office is located on 830A S. Bishop. Roman said constituents are welcome to stop by to discuss cares and concerns.