And among freshman, Democrats made up the majority of activity in 2019.
Started in 2017, the Town Hall Project built a database of public events held by members of Congress. Using that information, they found freshman Democrats were nearly twice as likely to hold at least one town hall meeting than freshman Republicans. All Democrats in their first term in the House held town hall meetings with constituents, compared to just 58% of Republican freshmen.
Leading the pack of freshman Democrats with the most town hall meetings last year is Iowa Rep. Cindy Axne, who held a total of 57 events to talk with constituents.
“As the Representative for Iowa’s Third District, my job is first and foremost to listen. I can’t represent my constituents – or their concerns, thoughts, and priorities – without taking the time to listen and absorb their stories in order to carry their voices with me to Washington every week,” Axne said in a statement to COURIER.
Axne’s office said the number of town hall meetings were in part driven by the large area her district covers.
“It’s been my pleasure and privilege to meet so many outstanding Iowans at 57 different town halls last year. I’ve heard stories from our families, farmers, business owners, and community leaders – and each one has helped me better represent Iowa in Congress,” Axne said in a statement.
When looking at the House of Representatives as a whole, Democrats held almost twice as many town halls as Republicans. But a Republican, Rep. Roger Marshall (Kan.), held the overall most in the House, clocking in with 63 total town halls.
“After a steep decline in 2018, in part fueled by a large number of Republican members of Congress who ceased to hold town halls entirely after the often-contentious public meetings during the attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act in 2017, we are heartened to see a clear positive trendline in town halls being held by members of Congress,” the Town Hall Project wrote.