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Toomey holds virtual town hall Thursday, but many seek in-person event |

Toomey holds virtual town hall Thursday, but many seek in-person event

JC Schisler | Trib Total Media
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Lehigh Valley, seen at the Tribune-Review offices in May 2015. Many constituents want to see Toomey, who held a virtual town hall Thursday, appear at such events in person. April 6, 2017

Nearly 10,000 people listened to a virtual town hall meeting hosted Thursday by U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey.

Based on many of the more than 800 comments posted to Toomey’s Facebook page, many people want to see Toomey appear in-person at a town hall meeting in their communities instead of fielding questions online and by phone.

A woman who posed the so-called tele-town hall’s first question, via Facebook, asked Toomey when he plans to hold an in-person event in Pennsylvania.

He didn’t say.

“What’s important is that we have ongoing dialogue, a whole lot of communication that goes in both directions,” Toomey said. “I need to be hearing from my constituents, and my constituents need to be hearing from me about what we’re doing and what we’re working on.”

Toomey said he’s done that in many ways over the past six years, from holding 14 traditional town halls and 49 tele-town halls to meeting with individual and small groups of constituents in his offices in Washington, D.C., and across Pennsylvania.

“I have done (in-person town halls) traditionally in the summertime when there’s time in my schedule and I don’t have to be in Washington nearly as much as we do now,” Toomey said. “I expect that will continue to be the case.”

Toomey began the tele-town hall about 10 minutes later than scheduled and concluded it after 50 minutes.

He answered 16 questions on a broad range of topics, including health care, the economy, education and the Syrian chemical attack.

Before taking questions, he talked about the ongoing battle over confirming Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch and touted legislation that he introduced with a Democratic senator from Indiana to recognize March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

Tom Fontaine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7847 or

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