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.


* LIVE Comptroller Munger press conference coverage
* Yet another clock starts ticking down
* Hey, Cardinal fans...
* Rauner makes cheery visit to Illinois State Museum
* The Tier 2 difference
* *** UPDATED x3 *** Attorney General goes to court
* Credit Unions – Protecting Financial Futures
* GOP legislator wants "temporary, balanced budget"
* Food for thought
* The blame game
* Meanwhile, in the real world...
* 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

          
        * Start a running lifestyle with WalknRun fitness app
        * Android 5.1.1 rolling out to the Samsung Galaxy S6 Duos
        * In Wake Of Apple Music, SoundCloud Update Focuses On Music Discovery, Better User Experience
        * Leaked Foxconn documents detail iPhone 6s camera
        * Will Google release its Android M preview for some older Nexus hardware?
        * CyanogenMod teases new Gello browser
        * Smartphone theft down by 32%, CA Kill Switch Law in effect

        * Zirx and Luxe Are Also Considering Reclassifying Workers as Employees
        * Flix Plus Customizes Every Corner of Netflix's New Interface
        * Apple Music’s Beats 1 Is Like Radio Before It Sucked
        * Revive Drooping Flowers With a Safety Pin
        * Hulk Hogan Sex Trial Postponed
        * Tip Tester: How Other Sriracha Sauces Compare to the Original Rooster
        * Build a Modern Bookcase Using a Single Sheet of Plywood

        * Tatis Jr. among White Sox finds on int'l market
        * Who will finish second in homers for the 2015 White Sox?
        * White Sox not deterred by delays, top Cards
        * White Sox shows signs in two wins vs. Cards
        * White Sox show signs in two wins vs. Cards
        * White Sox 7, Cardinals 1: Living after midnight
        * Danks draws O's Ubaldo in Chicago opener

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


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

        Archives
        July 2015
        June 2015
        May 2015
        April 2015
        March 2015
        February 2015
        January 2015
        December 2014
        November 2014
        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


        * Rauner, drop the anti-union shtick - Chicago Tr.....
        * Gov. Rauner to lawmakers: "Pass a budget, or no.....
        * Illinois court asked to clarify state payments .....
        * Government Shutdown Seems Inevitable As State L.....
        * Illinois court asked to clarify state payments .....
        * Homewood officials urge riders to advocate for .....
        * Illinois court asked to clarify state payments .....


        * Indiana law spurs 'fireworks tourism' from Illinoisans
        * Illinois River hits record flood stage at Beardstown
        * Chicago teachers protest planned cuts after pension payment
        * Salaita hired in Lebanon after losing U of Illinois offer
        * Illinois EPA: State has landfill capacity for 21 more years
        * Illinois AG asks judge to OK payments without state budget
        * Quincy police held suspected shooter before releasing him
        * Town of Fairdale rezoned to make tornado recovery easier
        * Belleville woman pleads guilty in newborn son's suffocation
        * Champaign man who admitted killing U of I student sentenced

        * Illinois EPA: State has landfill capacity for 21 more years
        * Attorney General Lisa Madigan seeks court ruling on state payments during budget impasse
        * State lawmakers point fingers over budget impasse; temporary budget in limbo
        * Former Illinois treasurer employees under Dan Rutherford sue over firings
        * Lawmakers point fingers over budget impasse; temporary budget in limbo
        * Illinois medical marijuana patients now number 2,600
        * Budget impasse shuts down Lincoln's Challenge program for troubled youths
        * Illinois House defeats 1-month budget; same bill coming from Senate
        * Rauner vetoes pay raises for state lawmakers
        * Illinois Senate advances plan to increase school funding

        * Sun Trading CEO Bernard Dan steps down
        * Hillary Clinton e-mails show a friendly face to CME's Duffy
        * Are sommeliers becoming obsolete?
        * Milk dumped as supplies overwhelm U.S. dairies
        * So, can the state spend money without a budget or not?


          * Inside the failed prosecution of Chicago Detective Dante Servin
          * Failed 'Crash-and-grab' thieves attempt hit on Beverly store
          * Lawsuit: Sex offenders should be allowed to attend church services on school grounds
          * 2 held following fatal stabbing over Facebook threats
          * Man wanted for stomping puppy to death arrested in Chicago
          * After trade deal, Obama in Wisconsin today to repair rift with labor
          * Wining, dining, hunting: COD releases Breuder expenses after Tribune suit
          * Hedge fund manager's swank offices concealed a Ponzi scheme
          * Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker entering 2016 presidential race
          * Paralyzed cop says he's being evicted because city failed to pay bills


          * For same-sex marriage opponents, the fight is far from over
          * Emails show Emanuel, top officials aware of Clinton's private address
          * After pension payment, Chicago Public Schools to make $200M in cuts
          * CPS, Emanuel warn of deep cuts, layoffs to school district
          * After marriage equality, what's next for the LGBT movement?
          * The night Chicago politicians spent punching each other in the face
          * The legacy of Willie Dixon on his 100th birthday
          * Supreme Court rules all states must license and recognize same-sex marriages
          * Preckwinkle may reevaluate sales tax plan if Springfield acts on pensions
          * Democratic lawmaker 'mad as hell' over Rauner's veto of state budget


          * Illinois EPA: State has landfill capacity for 21 more years
          * Our Opinion: Winslow looks to heal divisions
          * Attorney General Lisa Madigan seeks court ruling on state payments during budget impasse
          * Bernard Schoenburg: Gov. Rauner's tone has changed, Sen. Andy Manar says
          * George Will: Some GOP candidates becoming unhinged
          * Eugene Robinson: In Charleston, 'the power of God's grace'
          * State lawmakers point fingers over budget impasse; temporary budget in limbo
          * Former Illinois treasurer employees under Dan Rutherford sue over firings
          * Illinois medical marijuana patients now number 2,600
          * Budget impasse shuts down Lincoln's Challenge program for troubled youths


          * 8th former UI women's player claims mistreatment
          * Homeless man to prison for pulling fire alarm at Carle
          * Streator firefighter injured at blaze
          * Streator firefighter injured at fire scene
          * Illinois River hits record flood stage at Beardstown
          * Town of Fairdale rezoned to make tornado recovery easier
          * Many but not all in GOP object as U.S., Cuba plan embassies
          * Solid hiring, lower U.S. unemployment rate, but wages flat
          * Gulf states reach $18.7 billion settlement with BP over oil spill
          * Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker entering 2016 presidential race


          * Fox Lake woman pleads guilty to delivering drugs
          * Stevenson High a big work zone this summer
          * Lindenhurst resident announces run for president again
          * Suburban developers charged with fraud involving Palatine condo complex
          * Train derailment, fire prompts evacuation in Tennessee

          * House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
          * Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
          * The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
          * Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
          * Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
          * CBD Oil, and politics
          * Simon considering state Senate bid
          * Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
          * Shutdown? State may not notice
          * Rep. Bob Dold

          * Durbin Statement On Opening Of Embassies W......

          * Kirk supports Granite City stroke survivor......

          * The goofy Florida legislature. There is no merit in this pay.
          * NEA RA: A commitment to take on institutional racism.
          * More on the Supreme Court's decision that could affect concealed carry reciprocity
          * Property taxes to be topic of town hall forum July 15th in Wheaton
          * Reeder: The pending showdown between Rauner and AFSCME
          * Pastor Sees Chicago Cops Running Around Street. What He Finds Astounds Him
          * Rainbows Of Flavor & Fun
          * Lady Gaga mistakes Chicago Mariachi and Folklórico Festival for Gay Pride Parade
          * Supremes okay independent redistricting commissions to prevent gerrymandering
          * Breen exposes partisan games in state budget showdown [video]


          * State, Teamsters Reach Tentative Agreement - Workers at IDOT, DHS, IDES, and CMS in Cook County to Vote on New Contract
          * Governor Rauner Extends Tax Filing and Payment Deadlines for Businesses and Individuals Impacted by Recent Tornado - Deadlines Pushed to December 31, 2015
          * Illinois EPA Releases Annual Report on Landfill Capacity
          * IDNR Urges Public to Leave Fireworks Displays to Those Who Are Licensed and Trained - Fireworks Show Sponsors Reminded to Check Credentials of Fireworks Vendors
          * Governor Receives Initial Criminal Justice Commission Report




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