"Things are changing every day, and the Congress can't do all that it wants to, especially being in the minority. It's going to take more than Congress -- people like you who has an interest in the country, who can talk with the community. This is also very helpful to me to see what you're thinking, what my constituents are thinking, and that makes me a better representative." ~ Congressman Charles Rangel
Moderated by Beth Becker, a leader of the progressive movement in the blogging community, the Bloggers' Conference Call on Tuesday evening was my newest attempt to address and champion progressive solutions to our country's problems during these challenging times by working with online activists and bloggers.
Watch a video clip of the conference here:
Participants asked a series of questions, ranging from those concerning the "Republican war on State employees" and collective bargaining, to torture and U.S. foreign policy on Haiti.
One asked about my primary goal in Congress, to which I replied: "Right now, if I had to name one thing that I would have as a priority it would be supporting President Obama. I've been here for more than 40 years, and been here through many presidents, but I've never seen anyone speak with the courage on the priorities I believe in."
I was able to reiterate my commitments to education, increasing the number of people in the middle class, reforming the tax system so that the top 1% will not be controlling our resources, ensuring immigrants' rights, and creating a type of economy where dreams can become a reality.
Overall, the conference call turned out to be a successful opportunity for me, as a longtime Member of Congress, to engage with a new, influential community and reach an audience that I have not previously interacted with.
"Thank you so much Congressman Rangel. I really, really appreciate you for taking the time to come in and dialogue with us via conference call and getting involved with the blogging community," said a participant.
It was my first time, but I have to admit, I found this an exciting new adventure and I do hope to do it again soon. I really enjoyed it.
Coupled with the launch of the new website at Rangel.House.gov, Rangel hopes his Bloggers' Conference Calls and future online townhalls will facilitate greater interaction between the Congressman and the online community to give middle-class America a stronger voice.
Congressman Rangel is currently one of the most active members on social media platforms, with more than 4100 Facebook friends and fans (www.facebook.com/cbrangel) and nearly 4500 followers on Twitter (@cbrangel). On March 10, 2011, Rangel participated in the first Congressional #AskDems Twitter Townhall event with other Members of Congress.
To sign up for Rep. Rangel's next Bloggers' Conference Call, please visit his Facebook page (Discussion); or download the Visible Vote app via Facebook or smartphones to join him in his upcoming online townhall.