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Town Hall Meetings Important to Political Process, Lee Hamilton '52 Tells USA Today

August 18, 2011

98194August 18, 2011, Greencastle, Ind. — Town hall-style meetings held by members of Congress used to be low-key, poorly attended events, notes an article in USA Today. But 2009 protests over heath care reform started a trend toward larger crowds, thorny exchanges with interest groups and opponents, and video footage, turning the sessions into "made-for-YouTube events," writes Gregory Korte.

Today's town hall meetings are less publicized, and some representatives are moving to webcasts and business luncheons to better "control the audience and the questions," reports the paper.

"If that's a fact, it's too bad, because it's one of the few ways I could use to know what ordinary people in my district thought," Lee Hamilton, veteran statesman and 1952 5941graduate of DePauw University, says. "So much of the problem with our politics today is that politicians tend to interact with homogenous groups, and they therefore misinterpret a mandate."

Read the complete story at USA Today's website.

A Democrat, Hamilton served 34 years in the U.S. House of Representatives and co-chaired both the 9/11 Commission and Iraq Study Group. He has been awarded the Churchill Award for Statesmanship, the Eisenhower Medal for exceptional leadership, and the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute Freedom From Fear Award, among many other honors.

He returned to DePauw on March 15 to address "The U.S. Role in the World After Afghanistan and Iraq" in a Timothy and Sharon Ubben Lecture.  A summary including video clips can be accessed here.

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