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Childers’ ‘tele-town hall’

By Billy Davis

Mississippi 1st District Congressman Travis Childers will hold a “tele-town hall” meeting Tuesday night at 7:20, his office announced Monday.

Childers will discuss health care reform legislation then take questions from participants, said press secretary Dana Edelstein.

“Members of the public who would like to participate, as well as members of the press who would like to listen in, should dial 1-877-269-7289, enter PIN number 13909, and follow the automated instructions,” reads the press release.

Childers has told The Panolian he is opposed to the health care legislation, HR 3200, in its current form.

The congressman, a Democrat, is a member of the moderate Blue Dogs in the House, where the current political climate has given the coalition considerable sway.

Democrats are expecting the congressman to face a challenge for the 1st District seat from state Sen. Alan Nunnelee, a Republican, in November 2010.  

During the current month-long recess, Childers has been pilloried by talk radio and political Web sites after other congressmen have held town hall meetings with constituents. Congress is in recess throughout the month of August.

The congressman’s Web site, however, had not listed any public event under “Scheduled Events” until the phone-in meeting was posted this week.

Childers returned Sunday from a fact-finding trip to Israel.

Some of the town hall meetings have been raucous, and Childers has said he would discuss the controversial issue if constituents talk in a “civil tone.”

The press release announcing tonight’s meeting states that the media can “listen in.”

Edelstein, reached by The Panolian Tuesday, clarified that the congressman will only take questions from the public.

Childers will also be in Batesville Thursday night for a political fund-raiser at the Smith Phillips law firm.