Republican Congressman Sean Duffy, representing Wisconsin’s 7th District, is on vacation and is using his time to visit with constituents.
Duffy, re-elected to a second term in November, was in Minocqua Thursday, Feb. 7, his third and final stop of the day.
His other stops were in Eagle River and Tomahawk.
The hour-long meeting between Duffy and about 25 to 30 individuals at The Waters of Minocqua began with a five-minute opening statement by Duffy, followed by questions from the audience.
The questions and comments ranged from concerns about the economy and the nation’s debt to the Second Amendment and the environment.
There were also a couple of comments from audience members expressing some dissatisfaction with the Republican Party.
“We haven’t done a very good job communicating,” Duffy said as part of his response to those comments.
“I’ve done these town halls ever since I was elected,” he said after the meeting.
“Since the first of the year, I’ve been going around doing town halls throughout the 7th Congressional District and for me, it’s been exciting to get up here, which is the new part of the area that I’ve obviously campaigned in but it’s the first time I’ve had the honor representing this area.”
He said he finds as he does these types of meetings around the district, people are concerned about the same basic things as those expressed at Thursday’s Minocqua gathering.
“Broadly speaking, people are concerned about guns, they’re concerned about the environment, I’ll get the debt and I’ll get spending,” he said. “Then, there’s a whole smattering of issues that come out.”
He said venues like this are a good place for people to come in and share ideas.
“Obviously, today you saw it was a little more conservative,” he said. “It varies widely as to what kind’ve crowd and what kind’ve area I’m in.”
Duffy said he does these sorts of meetings and also does what he calls “coffee with your congressman.”
“It’s this type of meeting but in a coffee shop or restaurant, you know, a cup of coffee in the morning, doing the same thing,” he said. “It’s a good way for me to keep in tune with where people are at.”
Duffy said he never had this type of chance to meet with his congressman.
“I was never invited to listen to him or ask him questions, never had the chance,” he said. “So, I think it’s important that I give everyone a chance, whether they agree or disagree or just want to be heard, a chance to talk to me.”
He said he’s the people’s closest access point to the federal government, more so than a senator.
“I think it’s my job to get out here and listen,” he said. “As you can see, here I took a few more shots from the right, I take shots from the left, and you know, if I can’t handle it, shame on me. Just get out there and do it.”
Brian Jopek may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.