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Senator Tony Strickland

Community events are the cornerstone of our democracy

Strickland: Community events are the cornerstone of our democracy

Previously published at the Ventura County Star.

Like all Americans, I was shocked and heart-broken when I heard the events of this past weekend in Tucson, Ariz. My thoughts and prayers go out to Rep. Giffords, the Green family and all of the victims of this horrible act of violence.

It’s times like this I can’t help but think about the hundreds of community events and town hall meetings I, as well as all of my colleagues in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., hold every week and how it could have been one of us or our constituents.

Rep. Giffords was doing what every great elected official does — getting input from the district he or she represents. In my short time in office, I have always made this a priority because I believe the best elected officials are not the ones who give the best speeches, but rather, the ones who listen to their constituents and take those voices back to Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

I have been reading about how elected officials might have to have heavy security so this won’t happen again. While we do need to take every precaution possible to make sure elected officials are safe, we also need to make sure constituents have access to their elected officials. The ability of Americans to bring forward their ideas and concerns to their representatives is the cornerstone of our democracy.

During this time, it is important to remember our form of government is unlike any other in history — it is one where the power lies with the people.

Therefore, it is essential the people have the right and opportunity to meet with and discuss public policy with their elected officials.

To show solidarity and faith in our democracy, I will be holding a community coffee event this Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Roxy’s Deli, 1345 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. I believe now more than ever it is important for all of us to stand together and fight for our representative democracy.

I hope for a speedy recovery for all those affected by Saturday’s tragedy and pray this never happens again.

I also hope we all remember our elected officials try to do their best and whether or not you disagree with them, violence is never the answer.

If you don’t like the job your representative is doing, you can always vote against him or her in the next election. That is what’s great about our country — the power is in your hands.

I hope to see you this Saturday morning at Roxy’s Deli in Thousand Oaks. It is truly an honor to serve as your state senator.