Making changes in Harrisburg requires more than a little magic
My constituents submit many, many requests to my office, or to me directly as I am out and about at a district event, the local farmers markets or just taking a walk or food shopping.
These requests vary from the mundane to the complex (almost anything to do with unemployment compensation in the past 18 months), to the not-so-unusual (can you help because the bureaucracy seems to be ‘stuck on stupid’).
I hear regularly from constituents weighing in on proposed laws they want enacted, proposed laws they want stopped, and those who contact me, their state representative, but actually need help from their local or federal elected officials.
These requests add up to hundreds a week and I am grateful that citizens are reaching out and engaging.
It is, however, frustrating for me when I am unable to respond to each and every request. It’s a matter of simple math; there are only 24 hours in my day, too.
Although not perfect, it is a point of pride that my staff and I do our best to respond to all forms of correspondence as quickly as possible, some which may need clarification, redirection, or in many cases, research to understand the legislation I am being asked to advocate for or against.
I am particularly intrigued by the emails that begin with “I demand that you do such and such …” as I’ve never thought that was a successful strategy to advocate or ask for anything.
Over the years I’ve been known to telephone folks who have chosen a particularly nasty approach in their correspondence. Interestingly, those individuals are truly surprised at the personal contact and at times embarrassed at the words they chose to express their sentiments when I read that correspondence to them to refresh their memory.
One of my favorite aspects of my job is speaking with my constituents and hearing all points of view. I find that the best way to work in Harrisburg is by being pragmatic and finding common ground.
At times, I too get discouraged because I know I cannot make vitally important legislation magically move forward or stop. That relies on established processes that I acknowledge are far from perfect.
Changing these has been one of my top priorities. It would allow for a fairer process that considers all viewpoints. I continue to do my best to improve those processes, and to speak with constituents to better understand their needs.
Know that I returned to session in September (with my newly tuned up and polished magic wand) with the goal to make magic happen. Of course, we both know that “magic” is really the hard work of paying attention to the details and working across the aisle on a daily basis.
Thank you for staying in touch, reaching out, and paying attention.
Speak Up and Stay Informed
Thoughts? Suggestions? Concerns? Make your voice heard by calling (215) 482-8726 or emailing me at RepDeLissio@pahouse.net. Stay in the know by signing up for my electronic newsletter (delivered twice monthly) or my paper newsletter (delivered twice a year) by calling my office at 215-482-8726.