In response to the Feb. 23 editorial, “Stop ducking constituents,” Congressman Chris Smith does not have to hold town hall meetings with his constituents. He should do it, of course, but he regularly wins re-election by overwhelming majorities. In the most recent election, he won by more than percentage points.
The Founding Fathers instituted two-year terms for members of the House of Representatives because they wanted these people to be accountable to the people they represent. They felt that this would make members of the house more accountable to their constituents. As a result, we are regularly given the golden opportunity to either validate or reject our representative. And yet, citizens of New Jersey’s 4th Congressional District continue to endorse Smith with little opposition.
Once again, the blame points to our New Jersey state representatives. Every 10 years, they are charged with creating congressional voting districts based on the result of the census. These districts are gerrymandered to carve out safe electorates for each of the political parties. As a result, Smith’s district continues to be significantly Republican within a state that is overwhelmingly Democratic.
If Smith continues to reject town hall meetings, we should remember his failings two years from now, when he asks for our vote. We should also pressure our state representatives to create congressional districts that represent a cross section of the geographical territory that is representative, rather than creating them for political expediency.
This letter also appeared in the Asbury Park Press.