Editorials

Editorial: The Star will host a town hall with Rep. Kevin Yoder

The Star’s editorial board is holding a town hall with Rep. Kevin Yoder on Aug. 22. More members of Congress are meeting with voters, which is good, because they’ve got tough work ahead.
The Star’s editorial board is holding a town hall with Rep. Kevin Yoder on Aug. 22. More members of Congress are meeting with voters, which is good, because they’ve got tough work ahead. file photo

The Kansas City Star editorial board is hosting a town hall meeting with Rep. Kevin Yoder at 7 p.m. Aug. 22.

With a long list of domestic and foreign-policy issues on voters’ minds, there will be plenty to discuss with the Kansas congressman. Because there probably won’t be room for everyone who wants to talk with Yoder, we’re setting up a system to randomly select participants. You’ll need to register online for a chance to attend.

While seating is limited, we also plan to broadcast the entire event on Facebook Live.

Yoder deserves credit for having a face-to-face conversation with his constituents. The Republican held town halls during the tea party era, but he has sometimes opted for telephone town halls more recently. Meeting with constituents, as Yoder knows, is an important part of the job.

In fact, there are other signs that elected officials are cautiously sticking their noses out of the tent where voters have been standing. Sen. Jerry Moran is holding more Kansas town halls this month. Sen. Claire McCaskill, on the Missouri side, plans more than two dozen town halls before Congress reconvenes.

Sen. Pat Roberts is making several appearances in Kansas this week, and he plans a rare bipartisan roundtable discussion with McCaskill in Kansas City on Friday.

Not all of these events are town halls, but any public appearance helps voters connect with their representatives. Bipartisanship is equally important.

September will be a busy and crucial month for Congress and for Americans.

Lawmakers will have to figure out a way to fund the government, since spending bills have languished. The fiscal year begins Oct. 1, so we can expect another government shutdown crisis if cooler heads fail to prevail.

The nation’s debt ceiling must be raised. Some Republicans want to attach spending cuts to any debt ceiling bill, an idea Democrats will fiercely resist. Since some Democratic votes will be needed to raise the ceiling, the party’s preferences will be heard.

President Donald Trump and some members still want to repeal and replace Obamacare. While that debate probably is on hold, Obamacare’s problems will need immediate attention and, most likely, additional money from Washington.

Republican leaders may introduce a major tax cut proposal. An infrastructure bill might surface. An investigation into alleged connections between the White House and Russia will continue. We might also be at war.

Members of Congress will need patience and persistence to work their way through the thicket of issues they face. So far, bitter partisanship and congressional timidity have limited progress.

That won’t be possible in September. Members must work together to pass essential legislation, then move on to other choices they face. They’ll no doubt hear that message this month when they meet face-to-face with voters.

A town hall with

Rep. Kevin Yoder

When: 7 p.m. Aug. 22

Who: Participants must live in Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District

Host: The Kansas City Star’s editorial board

Register online for a chance to attend. Or mail your name, address, phone number and email address to: The Kansas City Star, Editorial Board — Town Hall, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64108.

Entries must be received by Friday, Aug. 18.

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