Why has Coffman’s notion of a “town hall meeting” shifted?

In a recent Westword blog post, Rep. Mike Coffman’s spokesman was quoted as saying his boss has held “dozens of public events over the summer,” including “town halls,” proving Coffman is an “open-and-available” Congressman.

But as I reported Monday, Coffman’s summer “town hall meetings” appear to be private gatherings for small groups of employees at large corporations (Home Depot, LabCorp, and Tyco Fire & Security). Not very town hallish.

In the case of the Aurora Home Depot, it turns out Coffman was originally invited to the store to learn about the business.

“We’ll invite government representatives to do these store visits,” said Stephen Holmes, a spokesperson for Home Depot.

“The objective is to have them learn about our business and the contributions we make to the local community,” he told me, adding that roughly the same number of Democrats and Republicans have visited Home Depot stores.

At these store visits, he said, “it’s a common practice for store associates to walk into the break room and ask questions.”

If you look at the photo from Coffman’s website below, it appears that his Home Depot “town hall meeting” had about 15 associates in attendance.

You wonder if Coffman has ever thought more expansively about a “town hall meeting,” as in inviting the public.

Turns out, if you search his website, you find out that Coffman held a couple “town hall meetings” back in early 2011, before he was running for Congress in a more competitive district.

These “town hall” meetings seemed to be the real deal, complete with a public invitation and news release, quoting Coffman as saying:

“I always look forward to my town hall meetings,” Coffman said. “There is nothing more important than listening to constituents and understanding their concerns.”

Now Coffman’s conception of a “town hall meeting” has shifted inward and private.

Mike Coffman "town hall" at Aurora Home Depot Aug. 24 with “employees at the Aurora Home Depot”

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