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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Form Letter Responses by Members of Congress

A writer writes!

Members of Congress allow their constituents to contact them regarding issues.  Based on the member of Congress being too busy, the response from the member of Congress is normally compiled by a staff member rather than the Congress member.  That response normally is a compilation of data and statistics and standard political double talk in the form of a form letter response to the inquiry.  That form letter may be signed via a machine rather than the Congress member's personal signature.

For the various category of issues, a staff member of Congress has already compiled a standard letter designed to fit the category that your question falls into.  There are standard responses to letters that cover Health Care, Gun Control, Terrorism, and many other topics you see in the  "choose from" column of your Congress members website.  It's obvious from standard form letter responses, that most Congress Members really don't care to really communicate with a constituent after they have received your vote.

Yes, it may be difficult to compile a personal letter to each letter from a constituent. But I would like to see the member of Congress try to spend more personal time to respond to a constituent.  You owe that person your time, especially if you took their time via a phone call or an in person conversation during your election campaign to then seek their vote.

The form letters I have received in response to a question often are global responses someone just dug out of a file and returned to me.  Then that staff member "checks the block" proudly, and feels good about having responded to the inquiry.  Well guess what, your standard form letter responses are insulting at best and show no real effort to respond to the constituent.

I challenge all Congress members to ensure each letter they received is personally responded to rather than responded to via a standard form letter.  Make sure the constituent's questions and concerns are responded to.  To casually send a standard form letter that is closest to answering the questions or concerns is a disservice to yourself  and your constituent.

Congress already has a bad reputation.  Sending form letters to respond to your constituents only adds to the bad reputation.  Show that you really care.  Send a response that is personal in nature and that really answers the questions raised by your constituents.