Community Dialogs with Elected Officials
As required by federal legislation, on the second Saturday at 10 am, Congresspersons, Senators, and the President participate in separate, two-hour Community Dialogs, whether in person or a video conference call. The Dialogs are carefully structured and moderated to assure that they are orderly and give constituents a fair opportunity to communicate with their representative. The moderator is a neutral, well-respected journalist.
Speakers are selected randomly and have 90 seconds to comment or ask a question on any topic. If their time expires, they can finish the sentence. Then their mic is turned off. Speakers can ask the audience to indicate support on an issue by raising their hand.
The elected representative then has 90 seconds to respond, after which the speaker can respond with one phrase, such as “thank you” or “you did not answer my question.” Then the moderator immediately recognizes the next speaker.
With in-person events, community organizations can distribute literature at tables. Participants stay after the Dialog to discuss issues informally.
The officials are responsible for recruiting the moderator, arranging logistics, publicizing the event, and arranging to have it streamed live on the Internet and/or cable TV.