While people pointed to many things when asked why they wanted a new Member of Congress in 2006, one of the most frequently referenced was that they simply didn't think their former representative cared about them or knew what it was like on the ground in the district- if only because he was never in town to see.
Love her or hate her, Congresswoman Nancy Boyda has made sure that wasn't the case during her first year and a half in office. And, so, in a major break from Jim Ryun's tradition (again, this isn't partisanship, this is history), Boyda held 58 two-to-three hour long meetings all over the district- bringing more than 4,000 out to ask their questions and get to know their Member of Congress.
As she puts it in her column "Plane Talk:"
We held our 57th and 58th "Congress on Your Corners" this weekend. Over 4,000 people have attended in the last year and a half to share their views, their concerns, and their personal need for help.
I wasn't sure what to expect when we started them. I just knew I was concerned that I would get stuck in the DC echo chamber and I wanted to make sure I didn't lose touch. Believe me; you get it straight when you get it straight from the voters!
Most "Congress on Your Corners" lasted two to three hours. One lasted six hours! Over 100 people attended the "Congress on Your Corner" in Ottawa. We stayed there and met with each person who was patient enough to wait!
People are not shy about asking questions or voicing concerns. But I also have many people tell me "Thank you". That really means a lot.
We are now 90 days away from the primary election, so legally we will not be able to hold these events until after the election. I'll miss them. They aren't about politics, they are about people.
Even if Nancy Boyda doesn't get another term in Congress, because of her those more than 4,000 people got to have a meeting with their member of Congress...something that would have never ever occurred if Jim Ryun were still their representative.