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kenmc's avatar

When you write to your elected representatives, what is the usual response you get?

Asked by kenmc (11741 points ) July 1st, 2009

I just got a letter back from my congressional rep. and he basically said, “I know you’re a voter in my district, but your thoughts don’t matter to me and I will do as I please.”

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22 Answers

MrItty's avatar

Haven’t gotten any back from the one time I wrote to my state senator.

Of course, my state is NY. Our senate is in shambles. Not a surprise this guy couldn’t figure out how to write a reply.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I’ve only called my local reps. I don’t do it often, but only when things are pretty dire such as the days before the US invaded Iraq. I couldn’t call enough reps so I repeatedly called my reps telling them politely that I thought the Iraq invasion was a terrible idea. Civility is important. If you call up full of anger and profanity, you’ll get dismissed as a nut-job.

The odds were against me and everyone else that called voicing their opposition to war on flimsy premises and they decided to invade anyway.

That was a stance that even put me at odds with my own family.

In any event, even though my calls didn’t prevent the horrible ravaging of a nation that had nothing to do with 9/11, it was some consolation that I and a lot of other people spoke out against it. The problem was that in 2003, the majority of public opinion was still reeling from 9/11/2001 and wanted someone to pay. Saddam Hussein was convenient.

Calling your reps is no guarantee of action, but it’s a better option than throwing a brick.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Computer generated template filled in and printed out by a 3rd or 4th assistant to the rep. thanking me for my contact and shared concern into a matter that is important to my rep. blah blah blah

janbb's avatar

I’ve usually gotten a form letter back saying that the senator agrees with my position. I believe it is true because they are both of the same party as me.

mzgator's avatar

I wrote to my Senator about an issue and included my phone number. Suprisingly he called me. He spoke with me for a while about my problem and found a solution. A few weeks later he sent a letter inquiring if I had any further problems.

ubersiren's avatar

I understand your concern and we’re doing all we can to fix the problem. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Peace out.

Darwin's avatar

To a snail mail missive I get a snail mail form letter. Typically, it tells me all the things he/she is doing for “me” but does not address my difficulty. If it does, it is only to say that it isn’t something their office can help with.

To an email missive I get an email form letter thanking me for my input and telling me how important I am as a voter. However, it doesn’t even mention the subject of my letter.

Now my daughter had to write a letter to Dubya as part of a school assignment when he was in the White House. She got a form letter back, but it did come with a nice picture of his dog.

kenmc's avatar

@all

The letter I received in reply was specific to the issue and the issue I addressed only. I don’t think it was a computerized reply on that account.

I guess that’s something…

wundayatta's avatar

Dear Constituent,

While I can not write a personal response to every letter, be assured that I do care about what you think. Thank you very much for writing me.

Yours,
Dustoff Politician

Jeruba's avatar

A form letter assuring me that my thoughts are important and thanking me for sharing.

kenmc's avatar

@all

Doesn’t the seemingly uniform responses make one feel discouraged…

Wow.

casheroo's avatar

When I was 7, I was very angry at the new laws requiring me to wear a helmet while riding a bike.
I wrote a letter to my local representative, I forget who it was exactly. I wrote it apparently in brightly colored crayons and chalk though (I recall sitting on the sidewalk with my 7 year old angsty self writing in all sorts of pastels)
I received a packet back, explaining the law and it had all sorts of information. As a child, I was just pleased to have gotten mail…especially a large packet full. I’m sure they found it amusing.

YARNLADY's avatar

On the rare occasion I or Hubby have written to our elected representative, we have been invited to attend their next town meeting and present our question, or serve on the committee that is working on the proposal we have inquired about.

They are always after us to come back and work on their campaign, or do volunteer work with their aid. One even offered me a job as an assistant to his Aide, but I was too involved with the foster family program at the time.

cyndyh's avatar

It’s usually a thanks for writing, details about the rep’s position on that topic, and where more information on the topic/position/currently proposed bill can be found.

Once I actually got a “because of the overwhelming response” in the direction of the position I was writing for the rep voted that way.

@boots: It doesn’t make me discouraged, no. They’re representing a lot of folks besides just me. Sometimes they’ll be voting in my direction and sometimes not. It’s important to say my piece when I’m concerned enough to write about an issue. That doesn’t mean I expect them to answer me personally or vote my way just because I wrote to them. But I think it’s a mistake to think that writing (or calling) never sways their decision. There are times when it does.

Judi's avatar

When my daughter was in High School she thought that she might want to go to a military academy. We wrote to Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and neither one even responded. We also wrote to our congressman (Bill Thomas at the time) and his office was extremely helpful. I was pretty disappointed that The only response we got was from the only Republican we wrote to.

Jeruba's avatar

@Judi, what kind of help was your daughter looking for from elected representatives with respect to a schooling decision?

Judi's avatar

In order to go to a military academy you need a recomendation from a n
congresman or senator. Since she was a democrat and a woman she thought it would have been v
nice to get the recomendation from Boxer or Feinstien

La_chica_gomela's avatar

The most recent one I got was just basically him congratulating himself on what a great job he did when he voted exactly the opposite of how I told him I wanted him to vote.

tabbycat's avatar

A form letter, assuring me that my opinions are important, and that they appreciate my sharing them. Of course, in my case, my elected officials more often than not agree with my views. I sometimes wonder why I bother to write them. But there has got to be something positive about registering your opinion.

I keep thinking that if they get a very large quantity of mail in favor or opposed to a specific thing, the sheer volume will sway them a bit.

benjaminlevi's avatar

I usually get something back that relates to the topic I addressed, but doesn’t really address the question. Usually it just says how awesome that certain politician is.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i haven’t done so, but my psych teacher not only wrote to, but set up an appointment with city officials, in order to deal with a safety issue in his neighborhood. as of the last time i heard, nothing came out of it. the only person that could do anything about it was the mayor herself, and it was very difficult to get in touch with her personally. he spoke with quite a few people slightly underneath her, and some agreed with him on his stance, but could do nothing to help. i think he got in touch with her eventually, but her image and power was much too important to her than the safety and comfort of the people she is supposed to represent.

also, i thought this lyric was appropriate, and coincidentally, it has been stuck in my head all day.

There’s no blankets for the winter/There’s no oil in the lamp/And I’d like to write my congressman/But I can’t afford the stamp/You want me to pay my taxes/So you can propagate your lies/While there’s barefoot dudes down in New Orleans/Looking like they’re going to die

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