DOWNING COMPLETES TOUR OF DISTRICT
SENATOR ATTAINS GOAL OF HOLDING AN OPEN FORUM IN 48 COMMUNITIES
BOSTON – With the successful completion of the December installment of his Coffee & Conversation series last Friday, Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D – Pittsfield) reached his goal of hosting an open forum in each of the 48 communities that make up his Berkshire, Hampshire and Franklin District.
“Coffee & conversations are a great opportunity for me to hear directly from residents of the Berkshire, Hampshire and Franklin district,” said Downing. “Each time I learn something new and am reminded how similar the hopes, dream and aspirations of residents from each corner of this great district are”.
Recognizing the difficulty of being responsive to constituents in the largest geographic Senate district in the state, early in his tenure Downing made a commitment to accessibility. Since 2008, Downing has held 47 Coffee & Conversation open forums – one in in each community he represents, other than Pittsfield, where his district office is located and staffed full-time. In addition to his Coffee & Conversation series, he has hosted a town hall forum at Conte Elementary School and a number of open houses at his North Street Office. A second town hall forum was held in North Adams and an energy policy forum in Great Barrington.
Downing also uses social media to remain connected to his constituents. He maintains an active presence on Facebook and Twitter, sends a monthly electronic newsletter, and posts videos on his YouTube channel of Senate debate and local events; all of which are accessible through his online office at SenatorDowning.com. The Senator also hosted two online town hall forums through UStream, in which questions were posed by constituents through various social media channels. Downing is believed to be the first Massachusetts politician to host an online forum with the UStream technology.
As the new legislative session convenes in January, Downing will welcome four new communities to his reconfigured Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden District. As such, the next four stops on the Coffee & Conversation tour will be the newly added communities of Buckland, Shelburne, Chester and Blandford.