March 22, 2011


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You have a standing invitation to make a personal VISIT with some pretty interesting people whose daily business impacts you directly: your Senators and Representatives!

My husband and I just got back from Washington D.C. where we took advantage of the invitation to meet our new Representative, Billy Long, and visit with our Senators, Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill.

Prior to the visit I searched each representative’s website for suggestions about how to make the best use of our time in Washington. Each site was “people friendly” but some of the most creative suggestions came from other representatives’ sites. For example, most reps offer passes to Congressional and Senate galleries and tours of the White House. Senator John McCain (home/base= Arizona) provided a comprehensive discussion of the timelines and obstacles to getting White House tours and made suggestions as to interesting alternatives if the timelines were insurmountable for visitors.

I knew from Senator McCaskill’s web site, and visiting with local democratic staff, that she was to preside over the Senate from 3-5:00p Thursday afternoon and that she provides a weekly “coffee” Thursday mornings for her visitors from Missouri. We had hoped to be there Thursday afternoon to see her in action, but our plane was late. By the time we arrived Friday morning she’d already left Washington for the weekend. Still, the staff showed us her office and the collection of Truman pictures that she has on loan in her office.

Billy Long was “in a Committee meeting” but his staff treated us royally. They offered a general tour, passes to the gallery, and a tour of his office. They took a picture of us by his sign in the hall, surrounded by American flags. Then they led us through the underground to the Senate building, expediting our visit to the offices of Senators McCaskill and Blunt.

Having missed the opportunity on previous visits, we weren’t optimistic about the chance to meet Senator Blunt. This trip, however, he delayed leaving for the airport in order to make time for a pleasant and extended personal visit with us.

Our busy elected officials are undoubtedly not sitting around waiting for visitors. It’s more likely that they have some apprehension as to visitors who enter the office with a time-consuming “agenda,” and/or simply who lack an understanding of the complexity of what they do. So why should you visit the offices of your elected representatives?

  1. For yourself. Your Congressmen/women and Senators speak for you! Their seat authorizes them to have a voice regarding issues critically important to you. As a citizen, you are much more likely to be an intelligent and informed voter when you know the people who represent you.

  3. For them. Your representative needs to be reminded of the diversity of the people they represent. There certainly are political reasons for your representatives to keep the volunteers and staff who helped them get elected, donors, and the members of their own party happy. Their constituency is not limited to those people, however. They need to be reminded that you care what they are doing, are reading their material -- and watching them!

Posted by Peggy S. Hedrick at 4:06pm

Click here to comment:

This is SO apropos for what we are going through in my community, let alone on the national level. Thanks!
Posted by Kay Hedrick on 3/24/2011 at 10:24AM
Thanks for your thanks!!
Posted by Peggy Hedrick on 3/24/2011 at 8:10pm