Friday, March 27, 2009

I wrote to my congressman

*grins* I'm actually rather proud of myself. I've said for years that Congress writes the laws, so if you have a complaint or request, then Congress is who you need to call. Still, I have never written to my representative in the House until today.

My congressman is Glenn Nye. He represents the 2nd District of Virginia, including parts of Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore. It was a very general letter. I didn't ask for anything specific; just that he remember his duty to represent my interests and the interests of the other residents of his district. I think everyone in the country should send such a reminder to their representatives. Who knows? They may just listen.

This is the letter I wrote:

Congressman Nye,

My name is Stephen Monteith. I'm 28 years old, and a resident of Virginia Beach. I've lived in this city for virtually my whole life, and have developed a great deal of affection for her in that time. I can't imagine any place where I would rather live.

I want to congratulate you on being elected to represent Virginia Beach, along with the rest of the district, in the United States Congress. Though I've never served in public office before, I know that this is an awesome responsibility you hold. As far back as I can remember, I've been taught the history of our country and government; about the struggles our Founding Fathers had over the best way to serve the American people. The purpose of Congress, the House of Representatives in particular, was to be the voice of ordinary Americans in government. Congressman Nye, I want you to be my voice in government.

I've never considered myself to be especially partisan, no matter how my views have evolved over time. I've never joined a political party, nor have I consistently voted along any party line at the booth. I vote for the people whom I believe would best represent my values. I believe in President Obama's call, an echo of calls from great leaders down through the centuries, to rise above partisan enmity and prejudice, and to simply perform our duties. Whether or not anyone else in Congress, or all of Washington, answers that call, I hope you do.

I want you to know that you will have my support, Congressman. All I expect in return is that you hear my concerns when I voice them and present those concerns in the House of Representatives. I won't ask for special treatment from you; just that you remember my concerns when debate arises and it comes time to vote on issues that will affect me. You are my voice in government, sir, and I hope you will always act as such.

Thank you for your service, Congressman. I will write again.

Sincerely,

Stephen Monteith

In my first post, I pointed out that, even in the rare year when no one runs for reelection, our leaders still have the responsibility of leading us. They also have the responsibility to listen to us. I fully intend to write to my congressman and senators when I have an issue with our government and its actions or potential actions, and I believe everyone in the country should as well. Think of it as a suggestion box in an office building; except that, if your boss doesn't take your suggestions, you can vote him out of office.

I vote for the candidates whom I feel best represent my values. That's what we should all do; and it's the standard to which we should hold all of our leaders. If you want your congressmen to work for you, then write to them today and let them know.

Update: the Congressman's reply

Dear Mr. Monteith,

Thank you for sharing your support for my actions in Congress. It is good to stay in touch with my neighbors in Tidewater, and I appreciate having your input.

When I cast my vote, I rely on two things to guide me: my conscience and the information I receive from my constituents. I am glad that we share the same views on the issues you contacted me about, and I am sure we can work together to advance important goals.

Thank you again for sharing your support for my actions in Congress. I am proud to serve Virginia's Second Congressional District, and I am committed to working hard for you. If you would like more information about the issues I am working on in Congress, or if you would like to sign up to receive my monthly e-newsletter, I encourage you to visit my website at http://www.nye.house.gov/.

Sincerely,

Glenn Nye
Member of Congress

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