To the Editor:
Our representatives need to act in a more open and responsible way when considering legislation such as budgets, health care, tax reform or overhauling public education. If you agree, contact your representatives. Tell them what you expect, and remind them you’re watching what they do.
If a law is being replaced, stabilize the current one to allow time for careful consideration of its replacement. Stabilizing the existing law secures all who are dependent on it.
Representatives who don’t are letting you know protecting you isn’t their first priority.
The next step is crucial: Hold public hearings. Talk to the people who helped shape the original law because their unique insights could speed the process. Then bring in new voices for a fresh look.
After the final bill is written, representatives need to come home and explain their position. Listen/respond to constituents’ concerns. A good representative isn’t condescending or unavailable. If a representative won’t debate a bill publicly, hear from experts or hides from constituents, the bill is probably a bad idea. Anyone who doesn’t follow these steps should be putting his/her job in jeopardy.
Voters have responsibilities too. They need to stay well-informed, contact representatives if they’re not representing them adequately, supporting candidates who put constituents’ interests above their own business interests, lobbyists or other political bullies. Remove those who don’t quickly.
Write, call or stop by your representatives’ office and let them know what you expect from them. They’re home now, and they need to hear from you.