Sunday, August 12, 2007

It's not just me...

As some of you know, I'm a transplanted New Englander. Moving to Michigan a little over two years ago brought a lot of changes to my life. Some of them have been pretty nice, like people who smile and say "good morning" even though they don't know you, and streets with actual signage and left turn lanes. Gorgeous beaches, incredible bakeries, deer wandering through the yard and college football teams that actually win also make the list.

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?

Amen, Marilyn!


Communications guru said...

You are 100 percent correct. When Rogers was first elected to the seat in 2000 it was the voters in Livingston County that put Rogers over the top and gave him that 111-vote margin of victory. He promised then he would open a district office in Livingston County, yet after seven years the only district office he has is in Lansing.

In fact, only seven of Michigan’s 15 U.S. Representatives have just one district office. Among those are, Reps. Knollenberg, Levin and McCotter, who may be forgiven because their entire district– which is based on population – is in just one county. But the rest who only have one district office represent multiple counties, including Rogers, Ehlers, Miller and Walberg –all Republicans, only have one district office but represent multiple counties.

Doug Brown/Clarkston said...

Mike Rogers who? I have been on his office's e-mail list forever, but have not once seen anything about a public meeting. I would like the opportunity to ask him about his votes on all these international trade agreements that have gutted Michigan's (and the country's) economy. His office also no longer responds to my e-mail messages, which is very telling of what he thinks of his constituents. Before the election, they responded all the time. I suppose if I were CEO of one of his many corporate donors, I might get a response.