New Orleans, LA: Traditionally, Washington D.C. has been well protected by the Capitol Police, and they will certainly continue their efforts to protect the safety of the public and the members of Congress. Safety in our state's districts present growing concern that needs careful redress. The security of the members is becoming increasingly important and may best be served in the districts by introducing additional security as a nominal part of the annual congressional budget. When official business is conducted publicly, an hourly security detail can be used at various times to work in crowds or those situations deemed necessary. Currently, only the leadership in both parties have that privilege, and in the light of the recent tragic events, the effective representation of the people's interests should be safeguarded when both citizens and elected officials are attending public events. Perhaps we need to investigate and introduce this model so that we protect our citizen's as well as our freedom of speech.
Within the districts around the nation, personal contact with constituents continues to be one of the best ways a member can express their views and hear directly from the electorate. Representatives and Senators need to have that contact so that the people have a line of communication to the vital mechanism of government. In my former district, LA 02, we successfully conducted over 11 town hall meetings and multiple health and job fairs without incident with a result of an open exchange of ideas and access to needed constituent services.
Citizens and officials should have the right to assemble peacefully and enjoy that right openly without fear of reprisal or attack. This country is the greatest free and open society, and it is paramount to protect and defend that right for the future of our country. No child, student, citizen, activist, or official should have to pay such a high price for having the courage to express the ideas for a working democracy or showing the interest in its process. My prayers go out to the families affected by this tragedy in Arizona, and I will continue to advocate for citizens and officials to have a safe environment to raise their children and inspire the young minds of this republic, so that we may continue to assemble for the purpose of protecting the democratic ideals to which all Americans have been afforded.
Congressman Anh "Joseph" Cao