Thursday night, as the House wrestled with its plan, Senator Mark Begich hosted a town hall by telephone. From his Senate office, he was on the phone for an hour while calls went out all over the state, getting more than 1,200 Alaskans on at its peak. The 14 people who got to ask questions mostly focused on the debt ceiling, and they were very educated – and very concerned.
From Bethel to Fairbanks, callers quizzed Senator Begich about what Congress is doing to fend off default.
Janet in Chugiak followed President Obama’s advice earlier this week and gave her two cents, joining the thousands who jammed the phones and crashed web servers. But as the deadline looms she wonders what’s next.
“All of this is still high centered,” Janet said. “What’s the best thing one citizen like myself can do.”
“Thank you very much Janet, I’d say high centered tipped over the cliff,” Begich said in response. “I think exactly doing what you’re doing, making calls, letting people know.”
“Lisa and I have grave concerns over where we’re headed right now, and we’ve had great conversations on how to solve the problem.”
Amy in Sterling said she’s a single parent who has no debt because she sticks to a budget. She wants to know why the government can’t live within its means.
“I’d be happy to come and sit on a panel and sit down with all of you Senators and House of Representatives and go through the budget item by item, and sit down and cut and do whatever I need to do to show you how I live within my means to show the government how they should live within their means?,” Amy said.
From a woman on social security to someone concerned about military pay, Alaskans weighed in on their priorities and gave the senator feedback on where spending should be reigned in and what should not be cut.
Begich has the tele-town halls periodically, and says despite doing this one on a summer evening when many people are outside, interest was heightened by the importance of this moment in the debt debate.
Photo by Libby Casey, APRN – Anchorage: Senator Begich hosted a telephone town hall from his Washington office Thursday night. At its peak more than 1,200 Alaskans tuned in. 14 asked questions, mostly voicing concerns about the threat that the U.S. could default on its debt.