DENVER (CBS4) – It hardly feels like campaign season with no rallies and debates. While most of the country has slowed down, Coloradans are more politically engaged than ever.
Congresswoman Diana DeGette, who’s served for more than 20 years, says she’s never seen so many emails, letters and calls.
“It has been overwhelming.”
She says before COVID-19, her town halls averaged 250 people. Now, her telephone town halls draw 8,000.
“Everybody worried about something. Small businesses are worried about staying in business. Individuals are worried about keeping jobs. People are worried they’re going to get sick.”
She says in 50 days she received 50,000 emails and letters. She’s not alone.
Thousands of Coloradans have joined Congressman Jason Crow’s telephone and virtual town halls.
“Coronavirus has fundamentally changed what it really means to be a member of congress in the last two months, both in terms of the quantity of calls and inquiries that my office is getting. We’re getting upwards of 10 times the amount of emails, phone calls and inquiries.”
Crow says his office has opened more than 200 constituent cases in two months. Even kids, he says, are more involved in the political process. Several hundred children joined two virtual town halls he held for them.
“It’s encouraging that they’re engaging. It’s a good opportunity to actually teach them what a member of congress does, and how our government works.”
Congressmen Joe Neguse, Ed Perlmutter and Scott Tipton say they too have seen record engagement.
Tipton says he’s fielding 2,000 emails a day, held two telephone town halls with 200,000 people, and has opened nearly 200 cases to help constituents.
Neguse and Perlmutter have each held eight telephone and virtual town halls, reaching a combined 60,000 Coloradans. Neguse has also received more than 44,000 emails, twice as many as he did during the same time last year. Perlmutter says his office has resolved 647 constituent cases, compared to 879 all of last year.
Both of Colorado’s U.S. Senators have also seen a big spike in engagement. A spokesperson for Gardner says he’s held 13 telephone town halls that reached 1.5 million Colorado households and the office’s caseload is up 200%. A spokesperson for Bennet says it is a level and intensity of engagement he’s never seen before.