My name is Dallas, and I got to ask a question to Representative Rod Blum about his TV interview walkout during his town hall last night.
I turned 22 seven days ago and am currently a student at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. May 20th is graduation day for me and my fellow DuHawks, and I still don’t understand how four years went by so quickly.
I’ve enjoyed my four years living in the city residents proudly describe as the Masterpiece on the Mississippi, because Dubuque has given me all the opportunities for growth I could have asked for. I’m a political kind of guy who came to Iowa for the state’s political importance. The people I’ve called on the phone; the doors I’ve knocked and the packets I’ve walked; the organizers and volunteers I’ve met along the way; all experiences Dubuque gave me and I’m grateful for every opportunity, including last night when I met Rod Blum.
When I entered Dubuque Senior High School last night, I followed the crowd as we walked through the empty school halls. After some twists and turns we arrived at the cafeteria where we were asked to verify our constituency status. I handed over a copy of my voter registration and Loras student ID, which were handed back in addition to what would turn out to be my golden ticket. The ticket was actually blue, but you get my point.
I dropped off my ticket stub in a box being carried by an intern and again followed the crowd through the doors and into the school’s gymnasium. Here’s a video to give you an idea of what the place and crowd looked like
— Dallas Knapp (@dallas_knapp) May 9, 2017
Pretty much a full house.
Opposite from where I taped the video was where I sat with some friends whom I met by happenchance when I arrived. It was maybe 15, 20 minutes before Blum would eventually speak when one of my friends turned to me and showed me an article on his phone. As it turns out, Representative Blum stormed out of an interview with KCRG after only the second question. That reminded me of *another* episode where he similarly acted out during an interview with the Telegraph Herald. Not to mention his reluctance to hold town halls in the first place. It dawned on me that Rep Blum doesn’t like the media asking questions about political controversies; during the two interviews, he disrupted the proceedings because journalists were asking questions he did not think worth an answer.
Which brings me to last night.
After what I estimate to be an hour and a half, Blum called the numbers ‘5-8-3-5’ and I immediately sprung up and danced down the stands to eagerly await my turn to ask him a question.
By the time my shoes touched the gymnasium’s floor, my mind was made up on what I’d say and how I’d say it. I was going to ask Representative Blum how we could trust him to answer the tough problems facing our country, if he couldn’t answer the tough questions of reporters or constituents.
There was some lead-in, of course; we joked back and forth a bit while I introduced myself and talked about why I was standing with him there at the center of the gymnasium’s floor. I remember how the more words that left my mouth, the more I shifted my body toward his. My eyes were fixed on his—after all, I was asking him a question I hoped he could answer. After an adequate introduction, I begged his pardon for being direct and proceeded with my question by confronting him with how he stormed out of an interview earlier that night.
He looked me in the eyes as I spoke. I could see the gears in his head spinning while I did. They were spinning long before I finished speaking, so I can’t say that he exactly listened. At least, I don’t think he listened, because he never told me why I could trust him. Instead of responding to my question Blum addressed the political controversy, so I turned and walked away. If he won’t bother answering my question, then why should I bother giving him my attention? Someone stopped me, however, and prodded me back toward the floor so I followed.
I listened to his answer as I walked back to where I started, waiting for him to finish and shaking his hand once he did. Even though he didn’t answer my question, there was no need for a follow-up; instead of explaining to me why we can trust him, Rod lectured us about how – *actually* – we should be angry at KCRG for their ambush interview.
I didn’t press him any further, because his inability to answer my question told me all I needed to know: Representative Blum cannot be trusted to answer the tough problems facing our country. Believe me for I should know since I looked him in the eye as I asked for reasons why, but he ignored me and chose the crowd instead.
by Dallas Knapp