SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Words of wisdom

Friday, Dec 7, 2012

* Rep. Jim Sacia (R-Pecatonica) writes a folksy, conversational weekly column for his local newspapers and always sends me a copy. His latest is partly about the crush of upcoming legislation in the January lame duck session…

I receive hundreds of emails, and as I have often shared, Sally receives them first. She gets rid of the junk mail and prints what I should see on hard copy, then I write my response and she sends it on.

Arguably, thousands have come in this past week about these issues. The easy ones to answer are the ones you’ve received from various groups and told to send on to your legislators.

Come on folks, use a little imagination. Almost a thousand identically worded emails are easy to respond to. I write one response, Sally sends it on. Tell me what you really think. I need your honest thoughts, not what some agency wants you to forward to your legislators.

Sending a form letter to a legislator is a good way to be ignored. It just doesn’t work except in the aggregate, I suppose. And even then, it probably doesn’t work all that well.

And I’d say the same thing about comments here. Elevate yourselves, people. This ain’t no newspaper website.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


21 Comments
  1. - reformer - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 9:07 am:

    Organization-generated e-mails and letters provide legislators with a barometer about which side of an issue is better organized in the district. It also reflects voter intensity on an issue.

    For example, if a legislator gets 100 messages from constituents to vote against a gun control bill, but just 5 messages to vote in favor, that indicates which side is best organized and most intense.


  2. - CircularFiringSquad - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 9:14 am:

    We always like the lobbying form letters faxed from some government-owned fax machine…there have been times when they get refaxed to the sending device. Usually causes a flap at that end.
    LOcal folks say GmanJim responds better when you staple your receipts from the trailer company to your “requests”


  3. - dupage dan - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 9:14 am:

    I agree with reformer in that the impression of numbers on an issue has impact. As a former community organizer, trained at the NTIC, I can say that is a tactic that is used in neighborhood campaigns. I couldn’t produce stats on how well it works, tho. A good organizer also pays attention to how well a tactic works. Using the same tactics repeatedly causes a numbing effect on the recipient - as described by Rep Sacia. Balance and variety are important.


  4. - Not It - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 9:43 am:

    I wish your site had a “like” button because I would “like” the last sentence of your post.


  5. - cassandra - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 9:47 am:

    Well, it’s certainly getting easier for individual citizens to voice their concerns. Dictate your e-mail into your smartphone while you are on the go. No more looking for an envelope, a stamp, or even sitting down at your laptop. No excuses.

    I think if I were a state retiree I’d be dictating an e-mail about legislators’ plans to mess with the cola. Inflation is a killer, and with the economy improving per today’s job figures, it’s going to start going up soon.


  6. - Rich Miller - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 9:48 am:

    ===I wish your site had a “like” button===

    You can post it and then essentially like it on Facebook by clicking that little FB icon next to my name.


  7. - soccermom - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 10:08 am:

    Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Elevate me.
    Inga: Now? Right here?
    Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Yes, yes, raise the platform.
    Inga: Oh. Ze platform. Oh, zat, yah, yah… yes.


  8. - lessons learned - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 10:12 am:

    My experience is that these letters do help. If someone has gotten 5-10 emails on a topic, and then you go to lobby them, they are more receptive to see the face of this issue and more curious about the details. Sometimes they will say, “oh yeah, I’ve gotten emails about this. What is the issue again?


  9. - More Courage - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 10:23 am:

    The snide comment about Sacia and what local folks say was not only baseless, it was wrong. I’m pretty sure I know what the locals say considering my family and I are among them.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 10:41 am:

    - soccermom -….

    Put the Candle Back!

    - soccermom - decided to post such quotes, when Rich is trying to instruct. This is a “teaching moment”, and you decided to go “Young Frankenstein.”

    I couldn’t be prouder, (wiping a lone tear of joy…) well done … well … done.

    What was this about again?


  11. - Ghost of John Brown - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 10:43 am:

    The “best” comments that I got when I was involved with another Illinois blog was from spammers who wrote something like “This post was really informative and you bring up a lot of good points” and then there is a link to their commercial product. Really?? Do the idiot spammers think a lot of those comments get through and do people actually respond to those or have I assumed that the general public is smarter than they really are.

    Those were always “auto-delete” for me.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 10:50 am:

    To the post, I have yet to hear any elected offical say,

    “I got 4 form lettes that really caught my attention.”

    Volume works, occasionally, but Form Letters are just recycled paper with jibberish on them.

    My favorites are the ones photocopied, then with “white out” …”facts of the writer” are inserted…. when you get less than 6 …

    Or how about the 8 year-olds, “handrwritten” letters about the 12-point plan to underscore the taxation of property zoned B-4 instead of R-4 and the implications of such zoning, socio-economically on the town, county state and nation… verbatim of a proposed amendment to an amendment, of course.

    “Signed Sally Snowflake, Age 8, Newtown Grade School.”

    Those work too.


  13. - I don't want to live in Teabagistan - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 11:02 am:

    I will spend this weekend on Youtube, learnin myself some commenting skillz


  14. - lessons learned - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 11:08 am:

    Individually written letters are obviously better. But honestly, I don’t think they influence legislators all that much either. Ive never heard a legislator say, “I got a thoughtful, well-written letter and changed my mind.”

    They listen to lobbyists, colleagues, leaders and their own ideology more than their mail. Unless it comes in numbers. And if it comes in numbers, then they are more receptive to listening. Even if they were form letters.


  15. - wordslinger - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 11:25 am:

    Abby.

    Abby Normal.


  16. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 11:29 am:

    Please, I beg you! For safety’s sake, don’t humiliate him!


  17. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 11:52 am:

    Words of Wisdom - easy, one word… Plastics.


  18. - Norseman - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 1:01 pm:

    When you have 177 people, you’re obviously going to see differences in how they react to form letters/e-mails. From my own experience, most feel the way Rep. Sacia does. Many don’t even respond, often times instructing their staff to pitch them. It is certainly more meaningful if you have a self-written letter from a constituent.

    What’s even worse are pass-through calls where an advocacy group calls up targeted individuals with a fiery message urging them to push a button or option so that they can directly express their opinions to legislators. These usually hit on senior citizens or zealots who are scared or driven to being forwarded to the legislators without having a real knowledge of the issues. I’ve heard stories of seniors telling the solons’ administrative assistants that they don’t know why they’re calling - they were just told to call by some group. I’ve heard that many assistants don’t even track these calls.

    Bottom line, office visits, personal phone calls and personal letters/e-mails have more of a chance to get a legislator’s consideration. Even better is to engage is all of these activities.


  19. - Just a citizen - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 1:32 pm:

    I think the letters should be treated as an online petition and as such should be considered seriously by the recipient.


  20. - Rich Miller - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 1:34 pm:

    ===should be treated as an online petition and as such should be considered seriously===

    I don’t think that the vast majority of online petitions should be treated seriously by anybody.


  21. - Anonymous - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 2:42 pm:

    Form letters deserve form answers.

    The way to get responsive legislators who usually agree with your views is to learn candidates’ views and positions during their primary and general campaigns, then to work in those campaigns and get them elected.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* *** UPDATED x2 - Script *** Quinn airs radio ad of Rauner joking about being "scared" of four African-Americans
* Karen Lewis endorses Chuy Garcia for mayor
* Friday night TV ad rating
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Proft responds to HRO
* Quinn, Rauner head downstate
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - HRO responds to Proft
* Emptying out my in-box
* Vast Majority of Illinois Voters Support Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency
* Inducement or just a party?
* Question of the day
* UPDATE: $580 MILLION EXELON RATE HIKE?? Do They Really Need a Bailout After Making Nearly $1 BILLION In The Last 90 Days?
* Very late Rauner oppo
* *** UPDATED x2 *** And speaking of abortion...
* GOP defends Rauner on "employer-provided birth control"
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Friday morning fundraising report
* It's not anything new, but that doesn't make it Kosher
* Polling averages, models, projections, etc.
* Today's number: $3.5 million
* Rauner makes "Top 10" robocall list
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Cable TV buy report and a spending update
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

          
        * Roku adds Google Play Movies & TV to its feature list
        * Minuum iOS update picks up new languages, advanced settings (Giveaway)
        * A final word from Taylor Martin
        * Battleheart Legacy signals Mika Mobile’s return to Android
        * AT&T and Verizon Boost Monthly Wireless Data in Ongoing Competition
        * Smash Champs lets you become a legendary trainer
        * Poynt pad tries to be all-in-one payment system for business

        * Trent Reznor working with Apple on secret music project
        * Samsung Galaxy A5 and A3 phones try to capture young people's attention
        * Updated Office For Mac Arriving In 2015, Outlook Updated In The Meantime
        * iFixit Debunks iPhone 6 Plus Reinforcement Claims
        * Jony Ive: Apple Watch Tougher Project Than The iPhone
        * Google’s “Copresence” Feature Could Allow Seamless Cross-Platform Communication
        * Trent Reznor Working On Secret Music Project At Apple

        * Fall Stars Game filled to brim with talent
        * White Sox opt to decline Paulino's '15 option
        * White Sox have flexibility to pursue multiple upgrades
        * White Sox offseason plan roundup: Third base
        * Minnie Miñoso belongs in the Hall of Fame
        * Development of young core in '15 can define Chicago's future
        * Abreu leads White Sox GIBBY hopefuls with five noms


        Main Menu
        Home
        Illinois
        YouTube
        Pundit rankings
        Obama
        Subscriber Content
        Durbin
        Burris
        Blagojevich Trial
        Advertising
        Updated Posts
        Polls

        Archives
        October 2014
        September 2014
        August 2014
        July 2014
        June 2014
        May 2014
        April 2014
        March 2014
        February 2014
        January 2014
        December 2013
        November 2013
        October 2013
        September 2013
        August 2013
        July 2013
        June 2013
        May 2013
        April 2013
        March 2013
        February 2013
        January 2013
        December 2012
        November 2012
        October 2012
        September 2012
        August 2012
        July 2012
        June 2012
        May 2012
        April 2012
        March 2012
        February 2012
        January 2012
        December 2011
        November 2011
        October 2011
        September 2011
        August 2011
        July 2011
        June 2011
        May 2011
        April 2011
        March 2011
        February 2011
        January 2011
        December 2010
        November 2010
        October 2010
        September 2010
        August 2010
        July 2010
        June 2010
        May 2010
        April 2010
        March 2010
        February 2010
        January 2010
        December 2009
        November 2009
        October 2009
        September 2009
        August 2009
        July 2009
        June 2009
        May 2009
        April 2009
        March 2009
        February 2009
        January 2009
        December 2008
        November 2008
        October 2008
        September 2008
        August 2008
        July 2008
        June 2008
        May 2008
        April 2008
        March 2008
        February 2008
        January 2008
        December 2007
        November 2007
        October 2007
        September 2007
        August 2007
        July 2007
        June 2007
        May 2007
        April 2007
        March 2007
        February 2007
        January 2007
        December 2006
        November 2006
        October 2006
        September 2006
        August 2006
        July 2006
        June 2006
        May 2006
        April 2006
        March 2006
        February 2006
        January 2006
        December 2005
        April 2005
        March 2005
        February 2005
        January 2005
        December 2004
        November 2004
        October 2004

        Blog*Spot Archives
        November 2005
        October 2005
        September 2005
        August 2005
        July 2005
        June 2005
        May 2005

        Syndication

        RSS Feed 2.0
        Comments RSS 2.0
        WordPress

        Loading


        * Final weekend of campaigning for Pat Quinn, Bru.....
        * Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, GOP's Bruce Rauner enc.....
        * Illinois governor's race still a close call..
        * Quinn, Rauner talk jobs, early voting Friday..
        * Dems dig deep to keep governor’s office..
        * Candidates Hand Out Cash..


        * Creator of Operation couldn't afford own operation
        * Union backs county commissioner for Chicago mayor
        * Lake Michigan waves slam Chicago lakeshore
        * Judge won't close hearing in Islamic State case
        * Lake Michigan waves slam Chicago lakeshore
        * Wallenda ready for windy Chicago tightrope walks
        * Woman charged with defrauding Illinois couple
        * Quinn, Rauner talk jobs, early voting Friday
        * Judge won't close hearing in Islamic State case
        * Cook County Jail guard faces theft charge

        * State contribution to TRS to increase by $300 million next year
        * Former Gov. Edgar to campaign with Rauner
        * Attorney general seeks clarifications from Topinka’s former nonprofit
        * Inmate freed from Jacksonville prison in landmark Illinois case
        * Cross opposes income tax hike extension
        * Gay marriage, abortion issues take back seat in governor’s race
        * Madigan’s office seeks clarifications from former Topinka nonprofit
        * Cross says no to income tax hike extension, sales tax on services
        * Gay marriage, abortion issues take backseat in governor’s race
        * Illinois inmate freed in landmark capital punishment case

        * SEC examines Caterpillar's accounting for Bucyrus
        * Cubs hire Maddon as manager, fire Renteria
        * A stormy Lake Michigan swamps Lake Shore Drive – and sinks Chicago's mood
        * A stormy Lake Michigan swamps Lake Shore Drive — and sinks Chicago's mood
        * Chicago Marathon champion fails doping test, agent says


        * Garcia: I'm a serious mayoral candidate, not just a protest vote
        * A higher standard of criminal justice
        * Ex-Northwestern doctor to pay $475K to settle fraud claims
        * Sad day  when  Catholic  schools  close
        * Chicago bead merchant Ronnie Klein, whose Loop business drew stars, dead at 65
        * Chicago bead merchant Ronnie Klein, whose Loop business drew stars, dead at 65
        * Durbin, Oberweis square off for final time
        * State’s attorney investigating alderman’s prize offer to voters
        * Face it: Animator has found a great way to pass time on his commute
        * Refund those unfair yellow-light tickets


        * Karen Lewis endorses Garcia for mayor in new video
        * 3 injured, 1 fatally, in shootings
        * Missing Garfield Ridge man located
        * Trial to begin for Darien man charged in 2012 killing
        * Alleged victims of ex-Wilmette teacher share memories online
        * New rules make Illinois voting easier
        * Federal judge refuses government request to close terrorism hearing
        * Emanuel's top attorney: Watchdog had no right to sue
        * Cops release photos in robbery and attack of police sergeant
        * Cops warn of armed robberies at South Side businesses


        * Scary Story: St. Michael And Mr. Pyles By H.W. Devlin
        * Dodging DUIs: Secretary of State Candidates Faceoff
        * Cook County posting indigent burials in 'virtual cemetery'
        * Whom do you trust when it comes to nutrition advice?
        * Zombie barge sinking in storm at Navy Pier
        * The digital afterlife
        * Making Buildings Healthier From The Inside Out
        * Scary Story: Planes By Ted Morrissey
        * Listen to State Week - October 31, 2014
        * "Monster Mash" Celebrates Halloween With Classical Music


        * Charles Krauthammer: A referendum on competence
        * Quote of the Day: Nov. 1
        * State contribution to TRS to increase by $300 million next year
        * Former Gov. Edgar to campaign with Rauner
        * Esther Cepeda: Elizabeth Pena: Trailblazer on the big screen
        * Andy Shaw: Voter turnout instrumental to reform
        * Ty Fahner: What if the Court rejects pension reform?
        * Attorney general seeks clarifications from Topinka’s former nonprofit
        * Quote of the Day: Friday, Oct. 31
        * Inmate freed from Jacksonville prison in landmark Illinois case


        * HS Soccer 2A Sectional: Danville vs. SHG
        * Quinn, Rauner talk jobs, early voting Friday
        * Baby dead in Beardstown
        * High school football playoff scoreboard, Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2014
        * Breaking it down: UI-Ohio State
        * SportsTalk 10-31-14
        * Q&A with Mason Monheim
        * Final Word: No surprise, it's O'Toole
        * Tate: Don't look here for an upset
        * SIU to host science conference


        * Lefevre's cold-blooded goal lifts Fremd
        * Liva leaves MSL meet with a record effort
        * Scouting Saturday's Fox Valley playoff games
        * Wolves rally for overtime road win
        * Arrests of 21 reputed street gang members and associates accused in illegal drug, firearm sales announced in Lake County

        * Patrick Cannon defense strategy rare but n...
        * Feds fine Jesse Jackson Jr.'s campaign com...
        * Ex-Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. faces sen...
        * Representative Jan Schakowsky Sends Letter...
        * Rep. candidate pushes to uphold marriage b...
        * Reps. Schakowsky and Waxman Introduce Bill...
        * Statement by Representative Jan Schakowsky...
        * U.S. House Passes Resolution Condemning An...
        * FAA Rejects Call For New O'Hare Noise Stud...
        * Representatives Quigley, Duckworth, Schako...

        * Oberweis gearing up to take on Durbin in m......
        * Oberweis gearing up to take on Durbin in m......
        * Oberweis gearing up to take on Durbin in m......
        * Oberweis gearing up to take on Durbin in m......
        * Oberweis gearing up to take on Durbin in m......

        * Sen. Mark Kirk questioned by Triton students...

        * Winds, Waves Close Northbound Lake Shore Drive At Rush Hour
        * Quinn Camp Releases 2-Minute Finale Video Recapping Rauner's 'Greatest Hits'
        * Quinn Camp Releases 2-Minute Finale Video Recapping Rauner's 'Greatest Hits' (VIDEO)
        * Bill O’Reilly: ‘The White Republican Power Structure Is Afraid of Black Americans’
        * Op-Ed: Google Car Could Give The Blind More Independence While Saving Illinois Millions
        * Find the Best Deals at Deals4home
        * Google Car
        * Vallas Criticizes Rauner's Position On Charter Schools, Education Issues
        * Halloween parties in the neighborhood.
        * BPN Safe Trick-or-Treating Cancelled


        * Editorial: Governors, raining taxpayer $ on Illinois
        * Governor Quinn and Mayor Emanuel Thank New Safe Passage Workers - Nearly 700 Additional Workers Hired This Year to Serve 133 Schools, 69,000 Students Across the City
        * Editorial: Rauner best choice as governor to begin to reverse Illinois’ fortunes
        * Quinn to celebrate Rauner’s UI Labs accomplishment
        * Another Democrat Runs Away From Pat Quinn




            Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller