More than a dozen constituents braved snowy conditions Feb. 20 to share some appetizers with state Sen. Andy Kerr. But they wanted to share more than tapas — the South Jeffco residents at Q’s Pub & Grille that chilly night wanted to hear the first-term Democrat’s opinions on a variety of topics, and to share their own.
While the gathering was billed as an education forum, the topics were not limited to education issues facing the legislature this year. The subject matter ranged from gun-control measures being considered at the Capitol to regulations on hydraulic fracturing near homes.
Unlike a typical town-hall format in which the politician is the center of attention while fielding questions, Kerr floated from table to table, entering the free-flowing discussions among the attendees.
“It’s better and more productive to talk to fellow citizens with different opinions,” said attendee Gary Landin.
Landin had been peppering Kerr with questions on subjects ranging from fracking to the looming federal government sequester funding cuts. But once Kerr had worked his way to another table, the conversation didn’t stop. Landin, along with Young Willingham and Tim Carlson, continued discussing the points brought up in their conversation with Kerr, who represents the newly redrawn Senate District 22 in South Jeffco.
“The national level of government is almost totally broken,” Carlson said. “Here (on the local level) is where you find the votes and get work done.”
All three men, who met for the first time at the event, said being able to share their ideas helped them feel like they weren’t just sitting on the sidelines.
“A free and proper exchange of ideas is a great thing,” Willingham said. “As long as you do it with respect.”
While the answers to the nation’s problems weren’t necessarily hashed out in one evening, Landin said it beat the alternative.
“It’s better than (complaining) in your kitchen by yourself,” Landin said.
For information on Kerr’s next Appetizers with Andy appearance, which are at locally owned restaurants, visit www.andykerr.org.
Contact Ramsey Scott at email@example.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22.