Missing in action

It’s time for Rep. Doug LaMalfa to come face to face with his local constituents

Congressman Doug LaMalfa’s staffers will have company at his Oroville office on Monday (Feb. 27), as a group of constituents plans to lobby the Republican lawmaker on upcoming policy, including the GOP’s forthcoming efforts to eviscerate the nation’s health care law, the Affordable Care Act. (The event starts at 3 p.m.)

Citizens are increasingly holding demonstrations at the Richvale politician’s district offices, as LaMalfa remains missing in action. Like many of his conservative colleagues, he’s lying low. During this week’s congressional recess, a time when representatives typically attend public events to hear from their constituents, just 88 traditional town hall events were scheduled for all of Congress’ 292 Republican members, according to Vice News via Legistorm, a nonpartisan website that tracks activity on Capitol Hill. That’s in comparison to the 222 such events held two years ago around this time. What’s more, over a third of those events were scheduled by a single politician.

Republicans are facing increasing scrutiny from their constituents under the Trump administration, but that’s not a valid excuse for dodging such face-to-face meetings. LaMalfa had no public events scheduled over the break, though he did meet with reporters from Redding’s daily paper for a so-called Facebook Live Q&A on Tuesday (Feb. 21).

Thing is, LaMalfa has a history of avoiding his constituents, especially those in Chico. Think about it. Chico is the largest municipality in Butte County, the second largest municipality in District 1, yet LaMalfa doesn’t have an office in town. CN&R cannot recall the last time our District 1 representative held an open forum here. His last-minute “community coffee” event during the general election cycle doesn’t count. It was an under-the-radar campaign stop at the Chico Fire Department, a quick flyover to curry favor with that agency’s voting bloc. Indeed, he was even hesitant to participate in a debate with Democratic challenger Jim Reed in Chico around that same time. To say he’s due for a town-hall-style event in Chico is an understatement.

What’s he afraid of?