She was a little hungover, but university student Jessica Birch got up early Saturday morning and thought she was doing her civic duty by attending her congressman's town hall in Grundy, Iowa. Unbeknownst to her, Jessica would be the only person there who wasn't being paid to be there (the other, an intern for Steve King himself).
Source: Iowa Starting Line
It was early Saturday morning, and Jessica Birch didn’t feel like getting out of bed. Hungover and tired, the 21-year-old University of Northern Iowa student could easily have turned off her alarm.
But the night before, she saw a Facebook event for Congressman Steve King’s town hall forum in Grundy County come across her feed, and she felt a civic duty to attend. So, Birch forced herself out of bed and headed 17 miles down the road to the Grundy Center Community Center.
She arrived to peculiar scene: out of the over 12,000 people that live in Grundy County, Birch was the only one to show up to King’s forum.
“It was just odd, because I don’t know what the record was for the world’s smallest town hall is, but one person I think has to be it,” Birch told Starting Line in an interview this morning.
A photo of the near-empty room by a Reuters photographer quickly went viral Saturday afternoon, showing only two people in a room of mostly-empty chairs. However, as Birch explained, the other woman on the left in the photo was an intern for King. Birch, who lives in Dike, Iowa, was the only constituent of King’s not required to attend to show up.
“I was the only person who was not paid to be there,” she said.
And the now-famous picture, again.