In an effort to provide an additional mode of communication between the public and the City Council, this week the Republican Council majority unveiled a new public Facebook page. The page, titled “Bristol Council Republicans” is aimed at providing frequent updates on issues of importance to the public, as well as reminders about community events, open board positions, public hearings, board and commission reports, and poll questions.
This week’s current poll question asks visitors of the page “what would you like to see in the former Memorial Boulevard School?” Responses so far have shown the public’s desire for commercial development, non-profit and educational space as well as the need for a performing arts school to ensure frequent use of the historic theater.
One thing the page will not feature is campaigning. Our goal is to help facilitate discussion through questions and frequent informational updates so the citizens of Bristol can be heard throughout the year, instead of just on Election Day. Community engagement and open government was a pledge we made to the citizens of Bristol back on Election Day 2011, and continues to be a focus today.
In addition to utilizing social media, we have organized monthly “Town Hall” meetings with the public at the Main Library. These meetings are informal, and they allow for open discussion on a variety of topics. The mission of these meetings is not to provide a soapbox for us to talk, but rather a forum for the public to offer their opinions, concerns, and questions – and for us to listen.
We understand there are a number of citizens who want to make their voice heard, but are turned off by the idea of speaking publicly in front of the press and TV cameras. These meetings allow every citizen the opportunity to discuss what’s important directly with the Council, without the pressure of the spotlight.
It is our hope that over time these meetings will become very well attended, and that the Facebook page regularly generates solid traffic. We are currently exploring utilizing Constant Contact and Twitter as well, and are planning on scheduling additional meet and greets in alternate forums across the City to make accessibility even easier for our citizens.
We were elected to represent Bristol’s best interests, and with your feedback we will continue to do everything in our power to make sure your message is heard loud and clear.