Civics Homework: contacting your reps!

Home Forums Off Topic Civics Homework: contacting your reps!

This topic contains 15 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of mary guercio mary guercio 2 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #1560
    Profile photo of Flypusher
    Flypusher
    Moderator

    I think this particular type of active step needs its own thread, so I’m starting this one for suggesting topics to contact your elected officials about and reporting on your results. Here we have something proposed in the Tx lege that is very important-outlawing civil forfeitures:

    http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/SB00380I.pdf

    All of us TX orphans need to back this. The state ought not to be able to take and keep your property without a criminal conviction.

    This is on this week’s to do list.

  • #1564
    Profile photo of Archetrix
    Archetrix
    Participant

    This might relate to your post, since the Indivisible Guide that’s been going around has a lot of suggestions for contacting your local reps.

    If you go to https://www.indivisibleguide.com , you will see a box called Local Action Groups. Here you can enter a location to see if anybody has started a local group in your area. I found a group in my next surburb so I contacted the leader there. She hooked me up with another person who wanted to start a group right in my neighborhood.

    I contacted her via Facebook Messenger and suddenly we had a name, a facebook page, and a listing on Indivisible Guide. This all happened in 10 minutes. In 20 more minutes we had seven people, all women, join up.

    Not sure where this will take me, but suddenly I’m hooked up.

    • #1566
      Profile photo of mary guercio
      mary guercio
      Moderator

      That really is neat, ARchetrix…..but website wasn’t functioning correctly. Will try again.Everyone here should check this out. I put that I had limited time, great interest, actively follow politics, Democrat.

  • #1567
    Profile photo of Flypusher
    Flypusher
    Moderator

    Yesterday’s homework assignment was e-mailing Senator Cornyn’s office:

    “Back in 2009 Senator McConnell insisted that all nominees for Cabinet posts comply with a list of various disclosures; including providing all relevant information to the Office of Government Ethics. Such standards are fair and reasonable. However, the OGE says that there are several current nominees who have NOT turned in all the required paper work. Their hearings should be put on hold until those deficiencies are corrected, no exceptions. Your constituents insist on a fair and consistent application of these standards.”

    I have read that the hearings for Wilbur Ross and Betsy DeVos have been postponed due to lack of paperwork, at least.

    Personally I have big doubts about the value of urging Cornyn to vote no on any of these nominees, given how he has been so doggedly in party lockstep his whole Senate career (If I had my pick on who to torpedo, Sessions, DeVos, Mnuchin, and Pruitt are the worst ones). But I’m willing to listen to any arguments against my pessimism.

    OTOH I’m absolutely convinced contacting Ted Cruz on anything for any reason is a waste of time, and the only remedy is to vote him out next year. But I loved this posting I saw on FARK from a fellow Texan who did call Cruz’ office:

    “Praise Cheesus: Called Cornyn and Cruz’s offices this morning. I very politely made it clear that if working in the low levels of the US government requires a completed background check before a job offer is forthcoming, it’s only reasonable to expect the full background checks to be complete before the Senate consents to the hiring of the entire Executive branch, other than the positions of President and Vice President. To Senator Cruz’s staffer answering the phone, I pointed out that if Mr. Trump had been vetted before the RNC allowed him to run for office using their party apparatus, we may have been inaugurating President Cruz in 11 days.”

    • #1569
      Profile photo of mary guercio
      mary guercio
      Moderator

      The lessor of the evils for sure. Pretty clever comment.

  • #1570
    Profile photo of Archetrix
    Archetrix
    Participant

    Our little Indivisible group has 13 members in less than 24 hours! Going to my first meeting tomorrow. I’ll post an update later.

    • #1571
      Profile photo of mary guercio
      mary guercio
      Moderator

      Closest one to me still being organized. Website contact not active yet…..will try again in a few days. Anxious to hear about your experience..

  • #1626
    Profile photo of Flypusher
    Flypusher
    Moderator

    Here’s the response I got from Pete Olson regarding to early session attempt to change the rules for the Office of Congressional Ethics:

    “Thank you for contacting me with your opposition to proposed changes to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) for the 115th Congress. I appreciate hearing from you on this important matter.
    As you may know, on Monday December 2nd, the House Republican Conference adopted an amendment that would implement changes to the process under which ethics complaints are addressed. Among the proposed changes the OCE would still act an independent entity, but be placed under the oversight of the House Ethics Committee. The Office would still have been governed by a bipartisan, independent, outside board with ultimate decision-making authority and still address complaints of wrongdoing from the public. It would also still investigate complaints thoroughly and independently, and would still determine whether or not evidence existed to warrant a full investigation by the House Ethics Committee. However, after further consideration, the amendment was removed from the Rules bill voted on by the House and the changes were not implemented.
    Rest assured, I will continue to work hard to listen and be held accountable to my bosses in the 22nd District.
    Again, thank you for your interest in this important issue. I appreciate your input and I’m honored to represent you in Congress. For more information on constituent services, current legislation, and to sign up for my E-newsletter, please visit my website at http://www.olson.house.gov.”

    My reply:

    “Thank for your response about the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). Unfortunately, I do not find it reassuring. Putting the OCE under the House Ethics Committee and requiring a majority vote to open an investigation would be a net loss of independence, which I do not see as a desirable outcome. Banning the office for accepting anonymous tips or telling to public about its investigations are also not changes for the better. Finally, I thoroughly disapprove of the manner in which these changes were attempted. If you are making any changes, they need to be debated for all to see with an on the record vote. Better yet, leave this office alone.”

    • #1725
      Profile photo of Turtles Run
      Turtles Run
      Moderator

      Thanks Flypusher

      Pete Olson is also my Representative here in the Sugar Land/Missouri City area and I will now commit to engaging his office on a more regular basis.

    • #1736
      Profile photo of mary guercio
      mary guercio
      Moderator

      Turtles, you will be great at that! Use the guide from Karen Hoffman above (Aaron posted) as she offers a specific slate of activities by the week. That will help you focus your time and effort (and talents!)

  • #1672
    Profile photo of Flypusher
    Flypusher
    Moderator

    Story I heard yesterday from a friend who lives in Kevin Brady’s district. Seems that he had a little town hall meeting (not all that well advertised in advance) where he was looking for input about the ACA. Rumor has it that about 50 people gave him some choice earfuls!

    • #1692
      Profile photo of mary guercio
      mary guercio
      Moderator

      Yes – that is correct. I would have been able to attend this meeting had I known it was planned. It was not publicized but conducted as a sort of “private” group appearance. Evidently, word got out and since it was a “public” event after all, those who gave Brady an earful had an opportunity to at least voice their concerns. I heard him speak over NPR a couple of days later and he was very smooth….same old BS. I need to follow up with my contact person there and ask to be notified of any appearances in the future….which won’t be many but I’ll do my best to attend and I will speak out.

  • #1750
    Profile photo of Flypusher
    Flypusher
    Moderator

    This message went to Olson, Cornyn, and Cruz this past hour:

    “It is the afternoon of Sunday, January 29, two days after President Trump signed an executive order banning travelers from a selective list of countries, even those who have green cards. I just checked your website. I see no statement from you concerning this. I have also been checking various news sites, and so far I see no indication that you have gone on the record regarding this action. This order is wrong on so many levels, but I’ll limit myself to 5 reasons why it must be denounced:

    1) It betrays people who have risked their lives to assist the US military in Middle East war zones. Who in their right minds would want to help America in future wars if we abandon our allies so callously?
    2) It reinforces the narrative from terrorist groups like ISIS that the US is at war with the ENTIRE Islamic world.
    3) It harms our scientific community, as it is currently barring foreign researchers from these countries from coming here to help us make new discoveries, AND has the potential to discourage future applicants from any foreign country from choosing America as a place to study and work.
    4) It is completely contrary to what is actually exceptional about America, that we take in people fleeing oppression and tyranny.
    5) It is interesting to note that countries not listed on the ban, such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, do business with Trump Enterprises, and were home to terrorists who have actually killed Americans.

    You should be standing up for what is right, rather than meekly acquiescing to every bad idea Trump and Bannon inflict upon us. Your silence on this matter is deafening, and disgraceful.”

    If I get responses, I’ll post ’em.

    • #1872
      Profile photo of Flypusher
      Flypusher
      Moderator

      A bit late, but here’s Olson’s (not unexpectedly) wishy-washy response:

      “A critical priority of the federal government is to protect the American people and safeguard our homeland. We are well aware from security briefings that terrorists seek to exploit weaknesses in our refugee and immigration programs in order to reach our country. As you know, on January 27, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order on “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” This action requires a temporary 90-day pause for non-citizens entering the US from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. These seven countries were previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror.

      While I support the President’s overall goal to tighten our screening process, we must be thoughtful and deliberate in this process. It was unfortunate that some people were caught in the confusion when this action was initially announced. America has always strived to be a compassionate nation and when those seeking refuge in our country have been properly vetted and determined not to be a threat, they will be welcome. I will work with my colleagues and this administration to ensure that the process balances the safety and security of our citizens and help for those who need it.”

      But Cornyn’s response was the worst:

      “Thank you for contacting Senator John Cornyn’s office. If you need immediate assistance regarding an urgent or time sensitive matter you are personally experiencing with a federal agency, please call my Dallas office at (972) 239-1310. If you are seeking information or services from my offices that are NOT related to my Legislative duties, please visit my “For Texans” section for more information. Warmest Regards, Senator John Cornyn”

      And nothing from Cruz. No surprise.

  • #1924
    Profile photo of Flypusher
    Flypusher
    Moderator

    Pete Olson’s Healthcare survey e-mail:

    Do you currently have a plan under Obamacare?
    Yes
    No
    Prefer Not Answer
    Do you support removing the individual mandate that requires all Americans to purchase coverage or face a penalty from the federal government?
    Yes
    No
    Prefer Not Answer
    What is the most important issue for you with respect to healthcare?
    Affordability
    Choosing your doctor
    Portability to take your health plan if you change jobs
    Flexibility for what is covered in your health plan
    None of the above

    I’m actually impressed that this is not a survey with those when-did-you-stop-beating-your-wife kind of questions. “No” to question 1 because I have insurance through my employer. “No” to question 2 because you must have an adequately sized risk pool if you don’t exclude sick people. On #3 my most important issue “no denial of coverage due to pre-existing conditions” is not there, so I go with “Affordability” and ‘Portability to take your health plan if you change jobs”.

    • #1925
      Profile photo of mary guercio
      mary guercio
      Moderator

      My problem is not with the survey, but with how the information is “spun” when the results are tallied. Health care as it is presently structured is complex. Only informed people can see through questions posed in the survey and ferret out the potential for twisting answers.

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