Full text: City commissioner takes issue with Rep. Tim Hodge Facebook block

Staff Writer
The Kansan

My name is Clint McBroom and I serve the community of Newton with many different hats. It seems as if each one brings me into a different group and responsibility. Today, I am choosing to write this letter first as a citizen in the 72nd district and secondly as a City Commissioner for the City of Newton. I have always held a high regard for those who are elected into office by the citizens of a given area. When we vote we are trusting that the person we are voting for will uphold the duties of the office and fairly and consistently represent all citizens of the community in which they are being elected. No elected official is above the member of its representative area. All elected officials should be held accountable of which I have asked the citizens to do the same for me as I serve in this community.

Tim Hodge has failed in his duty to equally represent all citizens of the 72nd district. I want to make the citizens of this district aware of how Tim has treated myself and many others in recent months and years. Tim has been very active on Social Media while campaigning during this election cycle. Recently, Tim made a post that stated ‘Make no mistake, the billionaires who are funding my opponent…’ The billionaires statement was puzzling to me. Not many of us know of any billionaires in the area! This post was made on October 5. That day, I had ‘liked’ Tim’s official Representative page on Facebook to simply be aware of what was happening. I asked the simple question, ‘Who are these billionaire supporters.’ It didn’t take long and my comment was deleted and I was blocked from interacting with this Facebook page. Keep in mind I have never had contact with Tim before.

We had previously become personal friends on Facebook, so I sent Tim a message to his personal page and asked him the question again but also noting that it had been deleted. It did not take long either that I was then blocked from his personal Facebook page. I could have called his phone number considering it is on the Kansas Legislature page, but I did not due to the fact that I respect his time at home. So, I sent an email to his official State Legislator Email address to which I have not received a response. I sent that email at 9:58 AM on Wednesday, October 7. In that email I stated my concern with being blocked and denied the opportunity to ask my representative questions that were not even controversial or tough. I was just seeking clarification.

So, what is the big deal with being blocked on social media? For starters it is not lawful or moral for elected officials to block their constituents on Social Media. In more than one appeal courts decision the appeal courts have ruled (against AOC and Trump) that elected officials cannot block individuals from social media as it is a reasonable form of communication and a denial of their 1st Amendment right to free speech. Shouldn’t a lawyer know this? Shouldn’t someone who says he represents all constituents of the 72nd want to answer questions and help the citizens be informed?

Tim has pledged to help the citizens of Newton with better water rates. Yet, Tim has blocked me, a sitting city commissioner, from engaging and messaging on Social Media. And Tim has never come to a city commission meeting to engage with us in these efforts that he said he would do! I would like to hear his plans for helping with our water bills. Seems like it may be hard to do when he has distanced himself from sitting city commissioners. Our elected officials, who are paid by our tax dollars, need to be held accountable. I can say with certainty that I am not the only one in this community who has been blocked or denied the opportunity to engage with Tim Hodge in discussion via social media. Remember, this is not legal! I would encourage you to consider your vote in the November election for a representative who will represent all citizens of this district on November 3. Tim, the invitation is wide open to sit and visit.

– Clint McBroom, Newton