By Jason A Stephany
Since he took office February 4, 2010, US Senator Scott Brown has yet to host a public town hall or open forum. His schedule has included more than 250 stops for ribbon cuttings, groundbreaking ceremonies and photo opportunities – even a slew of book signings to market his autobiography. But Brown has yet to offer a single opportunity for Massachusetts taxpayers to gather in an open, public setting and ask questions of their senator.
So when aides to Brown announced he would tour the state to share his agenda and interact with constituents on job creation and economic development issues, it made headlines. After 18 months of private, scripted events, the commonwealth’s junior senator was finally coming out of his shell to discuss important issues at the forefront of everyone’s mind – or so we thought.
What Brown’s PR team actually meant was the senator would embark on yet another string of seemingly invitation-only private events, shaking hands with wealthy supporters and posing for photographs. Local residents hoping to discuss key issues with Brown were turned away by security at his first three “jobs tour” stops, after being told the events were closed to the public. Even reporters were barred from the actual tour portion of the day Friday, with staff citing “liability concerns.” Brown’s staff has refused to reveal key details about upcoming tour stops, and his spokesmen offered no comment when asked how constituents would be informed of future visits.
As it turns out, the statewide “jobs tour” isn’t really open to Brown’s constituents at all – not without a special invitation, at least. The events have been carefully scripted to allow Scott Brown to avoid serious questions on jobs, unemployment and the economy – whether from the media or the people who elected him. But why? What is Brown hiding from?
Perhaps Brown doesn’t want his constituents to know he voted eight times to end unemployment benefits for tens of thousands of Bay State residents who lost their jobs. Maybe he’s ashamed of his vote to give tax breaks to corporations that ship American jobs overseas, or his vote to cut more than 7,000 jobs for youth across the commonwealth. He might be wary of his support for budget plans that would cost us 17,000 new jobs and slash critical job training for 27,000 additional workers. It’s entirely possible Brown doesn’t want constituents to know he tried to filibuster his own bill to help Massachusetts small businesses create jobs in our growing tech sector.
With so many regrettable votes on the table, only Brown knows why he’s avoiding a true public conversation on jobs and the economy. But one thing is certain: Scott Brown has voted against the interests of Bay State workers time and time again, and this latest publicity stunt can’t hide his lengthy anti-jobs record from the people of Massachusetts.