Congreswoman deliberately ignored questions
I attended what was billed as "Coffee with State Rep. Costa Howard" at the Glen Ellyn Public Library on April 16, hoping to join a dialogue between my state representative and her constituents. Prior to the event, a few people were given cards to write questions. When I took a seat, a young mother who had brought her toddler-aged daughter to the event introduced herself to me and asked what brought me there. I replied that I wanted to hear about Gov. Pritzker's proposal to amend the state constitution to allow a graduated tax in Illinois, which I believe would hand lawmakers unlimited power to raise our taxes at will given the state's record of overspending and implementing "temporary" tax hikes to fill the gap.
Once the event began, I was dismayed to see Costa Howard orchestrating a very scripted event where she only answered select questions chosen by a staffer, or "gatekeeper." The gatekeeper admitted that most questions concerned the graduated tax proposal. Without speaking about the proposal's merits, Costa Howard "punted" by saying the question should be put before the voters.
It is a curious answer given that she's surely not in favor of putting other controversial topics to such a vote, say pension reform or term limits. Not to mention this proposal lacks any details to ensure voters can make an informed decision. When people raised their hands to ask follow-up questions, the gatekeeper shut them down. I watched in frustration as the young mother next to me repeatedly raised her hand, only to be ignored. Sadly, Costa Howard seems terrified of actually hearing the opinions of the people she says she is representing, preferring to talk at them instead of with them.