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Old 12-29-2018, 10:55 AM
 
844 posts, read 2,348,897 times
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I wrote a lengthy email to the state representatives in my district regarding suggestions for bills that relate to a certain subject, plus a few others not in my district that have introduced bills in the past regarding that same subject. I received a reply from one representative not my in district thanking me for my well thought-out email and asking me if I could come down to the Legislature to discuss them further. I do not wish to do this because I feel I have described each proposal on this topic thoroughly and the Legislature is about 25 miles or an hour away with traffic. What is a polite way to decline an in-person visit, while still remaining open to further questions by email? I am not a professional advocate and don't wish to become one, but rather a regular citizen who has some original ideas on a certain topic.
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Old 12-29-2018, 10:59 AM
 
10,066 posts, read 4,015,956 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happs View Post
I wrote a lengthy email to the state representatives in my district regarding suggestions for bills that relate to a certain subject, plus a few others not in my district that have introduced bills in the past regarding that same subject. I received a reply from one representative not my in district thanking me for my well thought-out email and asking me if I could come down to the Legislature to discuss them further. I do not wish to do this because I feel I have described each proposal on this topic thoroughly and the Legislature is about 25 miles or an hour away with traffic. What is a polite way to decline an in-person visit, while still remaining open to further questions by email? I am not a professional advocate and don't wish to become one, but rather a regular citizen who has some original ideas on a certain topic.
That's what they send to everyone who writes them a civil, sensical letter.

Boy Scouts have to do that as part of their Citizenship badge. They get replies just like that. And no, the Boy Scouts have no interest in going there and discussing their ideas.

Unless you were invited to a specific meeting, you don't have to respond, and they're not waiting for your response.
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Old 12-29-2018, 11:09 AM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
43,156 posts, read 41,773,101 times
Reputation: 82886
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happs View Post
I wrote a lengthy email to the state representatives in my district regarding suggestions for bills that relate to a certain subject, plus a few others not in my district that have introduced bills in the past regarding that same subject. I received a reply from one representative not my in district thanking me for my well thought-out email and asking me if I could come down to the Legislature to discuss them further. I do not wish to do this because I feel I have described each proposal on this topic thoroughly and the Legislature is about 25 miles or an hour away with traffic. What is a polite way to decline an in-person visit, while still remaining open to further questions by email? I am not a professional advocate and don't wish to become one, but rather a regular citizen who has some original ideas on a certain topic.
If you want to keep the lines of communication open, just write something like this:

"Thank you for your reply.

I appreciate your invitation, but I prefer to communicate via email. I hope I have explained my thoughts on these issues thoroughly, but if you have questions please feel free to email me again.

Thank you for the work you do in our state legislature.

Sincerely,

Happs"
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Old 12-29-2018, 11:28 AM
 
1,280 posts, read 432,920 times
Reputation: 2005
You can ignore the response or reply as BirdieBell says.


I'd go, though--from my limited experience visiting Congresspeople on Capitol Hill, emails are largely ignored but an in-person visit, when requested, could have significant impact.
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Old 12-29-2018, 11:45 AM
 
844 posts, read 2,348,897 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BirdieBelle View Post
If you want to keep the lines of communication open, just write something like this:

"Thank you for your reply.

I appreciate your invitation, but I prefer to communicate via email. I hope I have explained my thoughts on these issues thoroughly, but if you have questions please feel free to email me again.

Thank you for the work you do in our state legislature.

Sincerely,

Happs"

Thank you for the excellent suggestion. Debating whether to reply with something like that or just ignore the politician's response.
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Old 12-29-2018, 12:05 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
43,156 posts, read 41,773,101 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happs View Post
Thank you for the excellent suggestion. Debating whether to reply with something like that or just ignore the politician's response.
It's easy to think that the reply is just an autoreply, but I like to err on the side of etiquette.

If they all had ignored you, it would be easy to claim "they never listen." Since this one did reply, I would return the favor.

This is how relationships get started. I work with elected officials on a daily basis, and many of them do remember you from repeated contact. If you want to be more than just that guy who rants, take a minute to respond. It doesn't make you a lobbybist or anything.

It really doesn't hurt a thing.
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Old 12-29-2018, 01:54 PM
 
5,449 posts, read 2,289,752 times
Reputation: 16436
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happs View Post
I wrote a lengthy email to the state representatives in my district regarding suggestions for bills that relate to a certain subject, plus a few others not in my district that have introduced bills in the past regarding that same subject. I received a reply from one representative not my in district thanking me for my well thought-out email and asking me if I could come down to the Legislature to discuss them further. I do not wish to do this because I feel I have described each proposal on this topic thoroughly and the Legislature is about 25 miles or an hour away with traffic. What is a polite way to decline an in-person visit, while still remaining open to further questions by email? I am not a professional advocate and don't wish to become one, but rather a regular citizen who has some original ideas on a certain topic.

So you actually don't care for the issue in question, then? Words are one thing. Action is another. By declining, you basically reduced your concerns to petty carping rather than advocacy.
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Old 12-29-2018, 01:59 PM
 
844 posts, read 2,348,897 times
Reputation: 436
Quote:
Originally Posted by MinivanDriver View Post
So you actually don't care for the issue in question, then? Words are one thing. Action is another. By declining, you basically reduced your concerns to petty carping rather than advocacy.

Wrong interpretation. The politician even commented how my two page letter was well thought out. Thousands of people march or hold signs outside Legislatures each year with political positions, only to be ignored. What is the difference between writing a two page letter vs oralizing those thoughts in a politician's offer or at a public hearing?
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Old 12-29-2018, 02:11 PM
 
1,280 posts, read 432,920 times
Reputation: 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happs View Post
Wrong interpretation. The politician even commented how my two page letter was well thought out. Thousands of people march or hold signs outside Legislatures each year with political positions, only to be ignored. What is the difference between writing a two page letter vs oralizing those thoughts in a politician's offer or at a public hearing?
There is a big difference between the two. An in-person meeting will have much more impact, particularly if you bring others with you. You have a potential ally in the legislature- why not work thatbfor all you can?
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Old 12-29-2018, 02:16 PM
 
Location: here
24,839 posts, read 30,070,624 times
Reputation: 32396
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happs View Post
Wrong interpretation. The politician even commented how my two page letter was well thought out. Thousands of people march or hold signs outside Legislatures each year with political positions, only to be ignored. What is the difference between writing a two page letter vs oralizing those thoughts in a politician's offer or at a public hearing?
The difference is, if you show up to state your position in front of the legislature, it is in the public record, and is shared in front of the whole chamber. In all honesty, I don't know how often those testimonies change a vote, but it makes the other side look bad when they vote the opposite way their constituents want, and it helps justify voting the other way.

The person probably invited you because you are on the same side of the issue they are, and they want public testimony that supports that position.

It is normally recommended that you stick with contacting your own representative. It's a little odd that you were invited by a different one.

Another option for you might be to have someone else read your testimony.
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