Yesterday it was Senator Heidi Heitkamp getting testy with a reporter over a gun control question. This morning we get news that, at a Facebook town hall event last not on her official U.S. Senate page, Heitkamp was dodging questions from citizens about gun control.
“Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a pro-gun Democrat from North Dakota, fielded questions about education on her Facebook page Wednesday,” reports Marina Fang, “but ignored queries asking how she’ll combat shootings in schools.”
The citizens asking the gun control questions weren’t at all happy about being ignored:
I’m not sure this Jan Hobbs is right when she suggests that Heitkamp’s constituents want more gun control. I think Heitkamp is reticent on any sort of gun control proposal because she knows that’s not at all what her constituents want. If voting for gun control were a politically easy decision for Heitkamp, which is to say something her constituents want, then she wouldn’t be dodging questions like this and voting against her party’s gun control bills.
But that’s beside the point.
You can read the entire town hall thread here. I suppose Heitkamp can defend herself by claiming that the event was limited to the issues of education and student loans, but c’mon. Heitkamp holds very few events where she’s open to questioning from the general public. If people don’t use opportunities like this one to ask the Senator a question, when will they ever get a chance?
And this isn’t the first time Heitkamp has dodged tough questions during a social media town hall. Back in May 2014 Heitkamp also dodged questions about the implementation of Obamacare.
“I had hoped that she would at least acknowledge my questions and maybe say something along the lines of ‘we’re looking at how to fix the issue’. But to ignore my question was ridiculous,” NDSU finance major Bryce Heustis told me via email after that event. “I was not satisfied that she cherry picked questions. She even replied to people who didn’t ask a question and just said ‘no question, but I love the job you’re doing as senator’ or something along the lines of that. It is very unprofessional and unstatesman to ignore the tough questions.”
Heitkamp has a real problem here which goes beyond political sticky wickets like Obamacare and gun control. Increasingly she looks like the exact opposite of the open, engaging candidate who North Dakotans (barely) elected in 2012.
What is it Heitkamp is so afraid of when it comes to talking with voters?