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Banks Hosts First Fort Wayne Town Hall Tuesday Night

Zach Bernard/WBOI News

Third district congressional Republican representative Jim Banks hosted a rare town hall meeting in Fort Wayne at VFW Post 857 Tuesday night.

Audrey Albright had scheduled a town hall for Banks at CS3 Tuesday evening.

“I repeatedly asked for a town hall and never got one in Fort Wayne, so I thought in October, November, ‘I’ll hold my own town hall! Schedule it during House recess and everything,’” said Albright.

The concern, Albright says, was that Fort Wayne represents 40 percent of Banks’ district, and many constituents felt they were being ignored. Banks has held town halls in the district, but regularly in rural areas outside of Fort Wayne on weekday afternoons.

Banks responded by holding a town hall at VFW Post 857, his first official town hall in Fort Wayne and first public meeting with constituents in the city since hosting “Coffee with a Congressman” on August 31. Despite criticisms from constituents, Banks says his track record of town halls in the district speaks for itself.

“We’ve had a town hall in almost every county in the district,” said Banks. “We’ve had many of them already and we’ll keep having town halls. It’s a healthy part of the process I thoroughly enjoy.”

With little more than 24 hours’ notice of the town hall, Albright swiftly canceled her event and mobilized anyone she could to the VFW Tuesday. She says she was pleased the meeting took place, but would still like to see improvements in the future.

“I noticed that only about 200 people can fit in this room,” Albright said after the meeting. “I feel that Fort Wayne as a city of what, 200,000? We could get a lot more people coming and involved in our democracy having one on ones with our congressman.”

She says she will lobby for another town hall during the August House recess. As for Banks, he held another town hall in Huntington Wednesday morning and will hold one more this week, at the Fabiani Theatre in Angola Thursday at 1:30 pm.

Zach joined 89.1 WBOI as a reporter and local host for All Things Considered, and hosted Morning Edition for the past few years. In 2022, he was promoted to Content Director.
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