The national Town Hall Project on Friday recognized U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse with its "Spirit of Service" award for the freshman Democrat's innovative service town halls, which the group said "combined talk with meaningful action."
Neguse, who held 24 town halls across the 2nd Congressional District during his first year in office, asked constituents to meet up to perform volunteer work ahead of the traditional question-and-answer sessions at five of them.
“I’ve been tremendously inspired by the engagement and excitement for our service town hall initiative this past year," Neguse told Colorado Politics in a statement.
"We were able to partner with five local community organizations across Colorado, including in Loveland, Estes Park, Boulder and elsewhere, and we welcomed a large number of volunteers at each event. I truly believe we need to work to turn down the temperature in our politics. Service town halls allow us to engage on a community level, across party lines, with the focus of a common goal: serving our community. We look forward to continuing the initiative in 2020 and partnering with additional organizations to spread the spirit of service and neighborly love.”
Nathan Williams, the executive director of the Town Hall Project, said he hopes the service town halls pioneered by Neguse will inspire other members of Congress.
"In 2019 Congressman Neguse was a leader in Congress in accessibility, holding frequent town halls with his constituents. But we were even more impressed with his innovative service town halls, which combined direct community action opportunities with open conversations, bringing Coloradans together in service of their community and reinforcing what our democracy is all about," Williams said in a statement. "We hope these events serve as an inspiration to more members of Congress to follow suit."
Neguse kicked off his service town hall initiative in March at Boulder Bridge House, where constituents met to pack toiletry kits for homeless people ahead of a town hall discussion.
The next Neguse town hall is scheduled for Jan. 21 in Fort Collins, his congressional staff said. It will be a regular town hall.