Senator plans town hall meeting in Summit County |

Senator plans town hall meeting in Summit County

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is scheduled to attend a town hall meeting in the Wanship area Friday at 6 p.m.

One of the meeting’s organizers, North Summit resident Jacqueline Smith, said audience members will have time to ask the senator questions.

"I know there are a lot of people angry with the establishment that has been in Washington, whether they be Republican or Democrat. But [Hatch] is our senator for the next two years at least and I think we should do our best to put forward some positive direction for him rather than just make it a bash session," Smith said.

She said she hopes about 50 people attend the meeting. Editor’s note: this is a new location than previously announced. The meeting is scheduled at the Wanship Fire Station, 2000 South Hoytsville Road.

"[Hatch] wants to come and speak to people and I thought that was pretty exciting," Smith said. "He wants to know what we want him to do. So he is listening and we’re grateful for that. We want people to come with ideas that will be productive."

Smith said the senator was yelled at by many of his constituents at a town hall meeting several months ago in Orem.

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"There were a lot of people very angry down there," she said. "I just want people to be respectful I realize there are a lot of people who have differing views and differing opinions, but I want this to be a productive meeting. I don’t want this be just a big screaming match."

With the conservative Tea Party gaining momentum, Hatch could face a tough re-election fight in 2012 from members of his own party.

"People are really going to push and what he does in the next two years will determine a lot," Smith said. "I’ve talked to Hatch personally about some of these things and I think he’s aware that we’re awake and that we’re watching every minute now. I’m hopeful that he really wants to make some changes back there."

There is no charge to attend Friday’s meeting and everyone is welcome.

"It doesn’t matter to me if they are Democrat or not," Smith said. "All of these people are his constituents and they all fall under his governance."

Hatch spokesman Mark Eddington said the senator "has been doing town hall meetings all year."

"It’s just part of his reaching out," Eddington said in a telephone interview. "He is obviously taking the pulse of Utahns and the town hall meetings are a good way to do that He enjoys the give and take."

Eddington said Hatch plans to campaign for another term in 2012.

"He just now entered into the re-election cycle," Eddington said. "He has wanted to increase his outreach and make himself accessible."