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Papers, please, if you want to attend

DAILY SUN NEWS EDITORIAL

Congressman Dan Newhouse came under fire earlier this year for neglecting his constituency.

Central Washington residents from the Oregon to the Canadian borders were all fired up about how their Republican representative from Sunnyside had failed to host town hall-style meetings to hear from the general public about their concerns.

Well, this week, the congressman is rectifying that situation. But it comes with strings attached.

Last night, the congressman hosted a so-called “listening session” in Moses Lake. And tomorrow, he’ll bring his entourage to Sunnyside.

Newhouse’s announcement for the listening session said all 4th Congressional District residents are invited. In the same announcement, the congressman provides a caveat: “Proof of current address will be required for check-in.”

Since when does any Washington resident need to show proof of address to listen to or talk to their congressman.

Papers, please.

Sounds downright unAmerican.

The announcement said proof of address is required because seating at local venues is limited. Give us a break.

Last night’s forum was at Moses Lake Civic Center Auditorium, which seats 262 people. But there are other venues with much higher capacity — there’s seating for 2,200 people in Big Bend Community College’s gymnasium bleachers alone.

Tomorrow’s forum is in the Sunnyside High School Auditorium, 1801 E. Edison Ave., a nice venue to be sure. But there is far more seating available on the same campus in the gymnasium. There is also likely more seating in Grandview and Prosser gymnasiums as well.

Residents should not be asked for their “papers” to be able to listen to and talk to their congressman.

Next time, we trust our congressman and his staff will make appropriate arrangements for seating capacity, allowing room for everyone who actually wants to attend without first asking them for their papers.

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