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Radel reaches out to SW Fla residents

By Staff | Jan 26, 2013

Newly elected U.S. Rep. Trey Radel is asking for local residents to show up and speak out next week at the kickoff events for his “Listening Tour.”

Over the next month, Radel will host “listening sessions” at five locations throughout Southwest Florida. The first session will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday in Rooms 106 and 107 at Edison State College in Fort Myers.

The second is from 6-7 p.m. Wednesday at the Norris Center in Naples.

“I’m a servant and representative of the people,” Radel said Friday.

“I want to shake hands and, if they want, hug as many people as possible and listen to their thoughts and opinions and share mine,” he said.

The sessions – similar to town hall style meetings, but less stuffy – will begin with a brief presentation, followed by questions from the audience.

“I want conversation, debate, discussion,” Radel said.

The presentation will cover the immediate concerns facing Congress.

“I’ll start out with a breakdown of some of the big issues that we will tackle in the next months,” he said.

Radel cited passing the budget and dealing with the debt ceiling.

“And, in the bigger picture, what ties into that – whether or not we can come together to work to save Social Security and Medicare,” he said.

There will also be charts on hand as visual aids.

“To just show a very simple example of how much we spend, how much we take in as a nation and, hopefully, in the end, show how we can all come together, regardless of party affiliation, to find some solutions,” Radel said.

He emphasized that people from all political backgrounds are welcome.

The majority of the session, however, will be devoted to the public.

“I expect a huge variety of questions,” Radel said. “Whether its guns or contraceptives, I expect to be asked about a wide variety of things.”

Residents are also welcome to simply share a concern or idea.

“If they don’t want to ask questions – if they want to share an opinion, thoughts, possible solutions, I’m open to that as well,” he said.

From their lives and liveihoods, to their children, no topic is off limits.

“I want to be able to take those concerns and thoughts to Washington to better represent them,” Radel said.

Even those with no political interest are encouraged to attend.

“Even if you’re not that engaged in politics, come – let’s meet, let’s talk,” he said.

The remaining three listening sessions will be held:

n Feb. 18 at 6 p.m. at Palmetto Pines, at 1940 S.W. Ninth Court, Cape Coral

n Feb. 19 at 6 p.m. at Bonita Springs City Hall, at 9101 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs

n Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. at Rose Auditorium, at 180 Heathwood Drive, Marco Island – Radel will be joining an existing commissioner’s town hall meeting

Also Tuesday, an open house will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Radel’s Cape Coral district office, 804 Nicholas Parkway East, Suite 1. Radel will be present to speak with attendees.

“Again, I’m there to meet people and to learn and answer questions, if they have them,” he said, noting that it is his first open house.

“This is something that we’ll do often,” Radel said. “I just want to make sure I can be as available as possible.”

Snacks and refreshments will be provided.

Edison State College is at 8099 College Parkway in Fort Myers.

The Norris Center is at 755 Eighth Ave. S. in Naples.