Some of the changes haven't been so good, though: I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen my U.S. Representative in person. This includes parades --not the best venue for constituent Q&A. Coming from a tradition of Town Meeting and having served as a local elected official, this is definitely not what I'm used to.
It's not just Mike Rogers who carefully doles out appearances. Every few months, his office proudly informs the local paper that the staff "will be available" to meet with Livingston County constituents. His spokeswoman is more like a text-woman, since her answers to local reporters seem to be exclusively in written form.
I thought it was just me (a/k/a The Cranky Yankee), but when I read Marilyn Charger's letter in today's Press & Argus I knew I wasn't alone.
Since President George W. Bush reminds us frequently this is a democracy, and a democracy is defined as government by the people through their elected representatives, this is my chance to see the situation in Washington as seen by my congressman. Phone calls to his Lansing and his Washington offices revealed he has no public meetings scheduled for the month of August nor anytime soon — or far.
I could schedule a private meeting or meet with his aide. I've met with his aide several times. I want a public meeting where others can hear his answers to my questions and I can hear his answers to other people's questions. I want to hear, along with him, the concerns and priorities of others. Am I asking too much for the $165,200 per year he makes?