Sunday, April 26, 2009

Friendly advice for a letter writer

A Lakewood resident got this letter published in today's Denver Post:
I have written Bennet at least a dozen times since he became our non-elected senator. He either doesn’t care about the people who may elect him in 2010 or he can’t make up his mind on an issue. To date I have not received an answer from him or his office on any of the issues I’ve written him about. Even when I requested his local address from his Washington, D.C., office, he didn’t answer.
I’m disappointed in Bennet’s performance at the present time. I find it hard to understand why he doesn’t answer my letters to him. It certainly makes me wonder where he is coming from.
A word of advice from someone who used to make his living responding to constituents for elected officials: It's regrettable that Sen. Bennet didn't respond to your first letter. I can only assume that this had something to do with the fact that Bennet had to hit the ground running in January and had no former campaign staff he could immediately employ to do basic things like respond to constituents.

That said, writing a dozen letters to an elected official in his first four months of office (that's three per month) does not ensure you'll receive a response. Quite the contrary: it flags you as a compulsive letter-writer and possibly a bit of a crackpot. Constituent service staffers of public officials regard such writers with a combination of pity and dread. My advice is to back off for a few months and then try again.

Oh, and don't start letters by saying "I am not a crackpot." Only crackpots do this.

No comments: