Rod Blum failing to represent constituents

Alex Sekora ('19)

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In Congressman Rod Blum’s (R-IA) recent newsletter on Sept. 1, he said, “I learn so much from meeting with people across Eastern Iowa, and I look forward to continuing to travel the district in 2017 to listen to Iowans from all walks of life so I can represent you to the best of my ability.”

I simply do not understand how Blum can honestly make this claim. Some of my fellow Luther students and I, as well as members of the greater Decorah community, have been trying to schedule a public meeting with Blum since at least early last year. Every time we make a request to meet with him, we are either ignored or stonewalled. Last semester, I contacted his office to try to get him to come to Decorah to hear from Luther students. I received a response telling me that he will be returning to Decorah during the summer recess. But that did not help the vast majority of Luther students who were away from campus during the summer.

We also submitted multiple requests this month for him to speak to us on Sept. 19, when he was already in Decorah for a fundraiser, and again, he ignored us.

Blum seems to pick and choose with whom he meets, since he freely meets with conservative groups such as the Winneshiek County Republicans, but shelters himself from meeting with people and groups that do not share his same political views.

For a while, Blum’s Cedar Rapids office was locked, and his staffers only opened the doors for people who were pre-approved. Letters could be slipped through a crack in the door and there was a clipboard on the door to provide your contact information and any comments or questions you had for Blum. To not even let people in to talk to your staffers is a pretty low move.

The United States is a constitutional republic. The people elect representatives to speak for them in Washington, D.C. But how can our representative possibly say Blum represents all voters if he does not speak with all voters?

Luckily, we have an election coming up. In 2018, Blum’s seat is up for re-election, and we have the opportunity to vote him out of office. There are several great candidates that are running to replace him, including State Representative Abby Finkenauer, former Senator Tom Harkin, staffer Thomas Heckroth, engineer Courtney Rowe, and veteran George Ramsey. All four of these candidates have been actively traveling around our Congressional district in an effort to listen to voters, the opposite of what Blum has been doing.

I urge you to look into these four candidates because they could surely do a better job than Congressman Rod Blum.

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