I am writing regarding the Tom Murse column (“Smucker a ‘no’ vote on forum with challenger,” Sept. 6 Sunday LNP | LancasterOnline). It’s interesting that it was shared on the same front page as an article about the increased costs of becoming a U.S. citizen.

A word of caution to our new citizens: Do not expect to talk directly to your elected officials. It will cost you, in some cases. In a district that is firmly in his hands, Congressman Lloyd Smucker not only refuses to participate in most open forums, but goes the extra mile and attacks the press — in a fundraising letter, of course.

He did speak recently at a Lancaster Chamber event, along with state Sen. Ryan Aument, and Lancaster County Commissioner Ray D’Agostino — an event at which a $35 registration fee was required ($25 for Chamber members). The Chamber did offer to waive the fee if you contacted them. But we must ask if this is just another barrier to participation.

Why must we pay to hear our elected officials update us on the issues? They represent all their constituents — not just those who can pay.

I asked the participants. Smucker’s office sent the usual automated response. Aument’s office never replied. I could not contact D’Agostino, as the email link on the county website that I tried did not work properly for me.

We have the right to vote, and it is our responsibility to educate ourselves on the issues and the candidates. We should not have to pay for access to our elected officials.

Edward Iovino

West Lampeter Township