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.


* State ordered to pay providers for pregnant women, infants and children
* Club for Growth runs McCarter ad
* Because... Madigan!
* NFIB member poll: 88 percent want Rauner to keep pushing Turnaround Agenda
* AFSCME advances bill that Rauner admin says "we cannot afford"
* Kim Foxx launches first TV ad "Amen"
* 2nd Annual "Cocktails with Capitol Fax"
* Has a "new" counter-point to the Tribune emerged?
* Credit Unions Assist At Risk Youth
* Question of the day
* Why I fight
* Parsons scores rare and highly unusual Obama interview
* Dunkin's defense
* Civic Federation wants spending limits and tax hikes: "There are no easy stop-gap fixes"
* *** LIVE SESSION COVERAGE ***
* "Mike Madigan's favorite state Senator"
* #Winning!
* In the spirit of the times...
* 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

  
* HTC One M10 rumor roundup: everything’s subject to change
* AT&T, Apple targeted with patent infringement suit from haptics company Immersion
* WhatsApp brings more emojis to your Android 
* A congressional bill may decide how the US will approach encrypted smartphones
* Google might make a VR headset that doesn’t need a phone to work
* Paul McCartney creates love music for Skype’s Mojis
* Samsung pushing 91MB update to the Gear S2

* White Sox reportedly considering Desmond
* Lefty-heavy rotation not a concern
* Melky: White Sox must play like family to contend
* White Sox remodel in big way this offseason
* White Sox ink Ishikawa to Minor League deal
* White Sox sign righty Latos to 1-year deal
* White Sox sign Mat Latos for one year, $3 million

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


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

Archives
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
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


* House Resurrects Arbitration Bill - Alton Daily.....
* Unions' actions, not Rauner's made state's mess.....
* Brawl over bargaining bill resumes in Springfie.....
* Madigan-backed committee attacks Hotle in maile.....


* Illinois News Digest
* Illinois residents weigh in on proposed coal mine expansion
* An urgent call for action made during university rally
* Illinois News Digest
* Children sue a former state legislature over pornography videos
* Jury sides with Illinois man in excessive force lawsuit
* Lawmakers urge federal agency to build campus in Illinois
* Aunt of teen accused in slaying charged with supplying gun
* Illinois News Digest
* Chicago man wins $1M lawsuit alleging police rigged lineup

* $45M and counting for $315M rail consolidation project
* Lawmakers making second attempt to send AFSCME talks to arbitrator
* President Obama returns to his political roots, connects with past friends, supporters
* Bill aims to create foundation to raise private money for state fairgrounds
* Obama returns to his political roots, connects with past friends, supporters
* Presidential visit notebook: Obama doesn't like horseshoes?
* District 186 misses out on construction bond program
* Vehicle emissions test notices suspended amid budget impasse
* Rauner: Bureaucracy is holding Illinois back
* Peoria's Par-A-Dice casino laying off 40, cites impact of video gaming

* What chefs eat for lunch
* Rush hospital president to retire
* What's next for O'Hare's gate construction plan?
* O’Hare finally catching up with rivals in jumbo jet space race
* O'Hare finally catching up with rivals in jumbo-jet space race


* Dear Abby: To wife’s chagrin, he sees his kids at ex’s home
* Georgia Nicols horoscopes for Feb. 12
* Clinton, Sanders clash over minorities, money — and Obama
* Stars score early and often, close in on first-place Blackhawks
* Sneed: Hillary making time for her buddies on visit to Chicago
* Sneed: Hillary making time for her gal pals in visit to Chicago
* Sweet: Kirk backers inject Rahm in U.S. Senate race
* Watch the Patrick Sharp tribute video shown at tonight’s Blackhawks game
* Patrick Sharp reaches milestone against Blackhawks
* Patrick Eaves has a hat trick after one period against the Blackhawks


* 1 dead, 4 others wounded in West Side shootings
* Witness: Indianapolis man promised $10K for home explosion
* 2 CTA workers hurt during Yellow Line derailment
* St. Alphonsus Liguori school to stay open after meeting funding, enrollment targets
* Chicago task force on police reform hears from residents
* Woman federally charged after escaping state charges in Endia Martin case
* Woman bilked Naperville man in 'arranged marriage' scam, police say
* Crest Hill man gets 39-year sentence for stomping wife to death
* Murder-suicide 911 call: 'Oh God! We better call'
* Illinois Youth Soccer bans heading for players 10 and younger


* $45M and counting for $315M rail consolidation project
* Lawmakers making second attempt to send AFSCME talks to arbitrator
* President Obama returns to his political roots, connects with past friends, supporters
* Our View: Illinois officials should heed Obama's call for civility, compromise
* Bill aims to create foundation to raise private money for state fairgrounds
* Bernard Schoenburg: State GOP past $250,000 in support for Rep. Avery Bourne
* Eugene Robinson: Rubio's revealing loop
* Derrik Gay: Reducing fossil fuel dependence aids U.S. troops
* George F. Will: Break the teeth-whitening monopoly
* Obama returns to his political roots, connects with past friends, supporters


* Class 2A girls' roundup: SJ-O, Tuscola, others advance
* Thursday's highlights: Danville girls top Rantoul
* LeRoy, Schlarman girls win 1A regional crowns
* Ferguson among ex-Illini going to NFL combine
* Asmussen's Hoop It Up: Creighton steals spotlight
* Cissna Park survives late Storm surge
* Four UI softball storylines as season gets underway
* Perry adapting to Rivera's absence on diamond
* Tate: These programs aren't too classy
* 'Historical moment' burdened by history


* Family of man killed in drunken Oak Brook joy ride seeks mercy for driver
* No. 25 Tennessee women beat Vanderbilt 69-51
* Cal hires Spavital as offensive coordinator
* Bergeron scores twice and Bruins beat Jets 6-2
* Ohio police kill man they say injured 4 with machete

* 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

* Lawmakers urge federal agency to build cam......
* Lawmakers urge federal agency to build cam......
* Senator Durbin Cosponsors Bipartisan Legis......

* Ward Room's Race to Watch: Illinois Senate......

* Urlacher on the Concept
* One Week Left In Library Amnesty
* Foxx wants us to not look behind the curtain w/ Preckwinkle standing behind
* Explaining collective bargaining.
* The GOP moderate. His candidacy should terrify you.
* Cook County Clerk David Orr At Youth Voter Registration Event
* Clinton Gets Backing Of Congressional Black Caucus PAC
* President Obama Visits Springfield Urging Lawmakers To Compromise
* Clinton Gets Backing Of Congressional Black Caucus
* Audience At Chicago Police Task Force Meeting


* Emergency Management Officials, National Weather Service Encourage Winter Preparedness - November is Winter Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois
* Keep Your Family Safe This Winter - November through February are leading months for carbon monoxide related incidents
* Governor Takes Bill Action
* Illinois Department of Labor Director Hugo Chaviano Awards Governor’s Award for Contributions in Health and Safety to the Illinois Refining Division of Marathon Petroleum Company LP
* State Regulator Elected Treasurer of Interstate Medical Licensure Compact




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