Politics & Government

Bipartisan forum: Quotes from audience, panel

Comments from the “Bipartisanship: Overcoming the Political Divide” discussion Thursday at Booth Playhouse in uptown Charlotte.

‘Given the frustration that we have about Washington, this was a good safety valve to let people get their concerns off their chests. It’s extremely complicated, and there is no quick-fix solutions. But you have to start somewhere. And that’s: Engage your local politician.’

Tony Edwards , retired businessman from Charlotte

‘People so often underestimate the power of their voices. It makes a powerful difference (when members of Congress hear from their constituents).’

Former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe

A co-chair of the Commission on Political Reform

‘I think it’s always helpful and encouraging to listen to people (like Snowe and Glickman) who have been in the trenches a long time. They have not given up the fight. If they still have hope, how can I despair? I think we (in the public) have to step up. That’s the message I heard tonight: (Washington) can’t do it. We have to do it ourselves. I think that’s the hard work. It’s easy to complain and have opinions. It’s harder to show up, and not just once every four years.’

LuAnn Ritsema , 60, of Charlotte, who works for Council for Children’s Rights

‘We’re gradually moving into a paralytic state (in Congress) where we can’t pass anything big.’

Dan Glickman , co-chair

‘I sort of hit a brick wall (in realizing) that people (in Congress) did not want to solve problems anymore. Change was not going to come naturally with the Senate or overall Congress. It will be up to the public to bring change.’

Snowe , who chose not to run for re-election in 2012

‘It’s interesting to hear from leadership who have actually dealt with these issues. And they really spoke to the common person. A lot of time it’s confusing to young people (what’s coming out of Washington). I feel like I should be more involved.’

Monica Hoffman , 34, of Charlotte, who works for an immigration attorney

Most Americans are centrists who ‘are between the 30-yard line and the 30-yard line. But people near the end zones are the ones calling the shots.’

In Congress, ‘if you’re only playing to the base, then you’re not representing very many people in that process.’


‘The people need to speak up, first and foremost.’


Compiled by Tim Funk