Legislators should make effort to meet with locals
In 1928, Al Smith was running for President of the United States. One day campaigning, he and his wife were ready to go out into a crowd of admirers. His wife said, “I really do not want to go out into that mob.” His response was, “My dear, those are the American people.”
His response is my response to the comments of Alan Doane and Steve Heinbauch, currently representing Dawson County in Helena. Pat Mischel circulated a petition, which I signed as part of the city council, requesting both men to set aside time for a one hour weekly telephone conference call to meet with city and county officials and the press concerning issues before the legislature in Helena. Their response to Pat’s e.mail included the following:
No, I simply can not make that time commitment.
I write a weekly newspaper article that goes out to both of the weekly newspapers in this district.
My email and cell number are readily available and checked often.
I don’t think it will be possible to schedule a set, weekly time for a teleconference. I will, however, do my best to keep in touch with all of you through e-mail. And you are welcome to contact me with whatever concerns you may have.
Yes, both men are busy and both have avenues for us to access, but this type of in-time meeting is a gesture which requires an immediate response to those people who elected them. If it required a trip back to Glendive, I would understand, but newspaper articles, e.mails and returned phone calls are always a time-lag. After a contentious election year, voters everywhere are watching their elected officials and waiting to see how responsive they will be to the needs and concerns of the folks ‘back home.’
I hope both Doane and Heinbauch will re-think this decision and make a real effort to connect with us in this manner.
Avis R. Anderson