It’s easy to tell yourself, “I am just one small person – I don’t have a million bucks to do a campaign contribution, I don’t have any political connections – what chance is there for me to bring attention to an issue that’s important to me.”
Here is something that happened to me many years ago that you might learn from (and I should always remember).
Here’s the setup: Loudoun County, northern Virginia. New home. Wife and two young children. Cold, cold December morning. Picking up the newspaper on front porch. Big puddle of water right off the porch. Builder says leak is outside of house and not their legal problem. Definitely NOT looking forward to paying for a crew to come in, excavate, discover and fix a water-main leak.
At the time, I had a friend that was a lawyer who clerked at the Supreme Court and worked on the McGovern presidential campaign. I complained to him about my problem and the anticipated big budget hit. He said something I have found to be a secret to always remember: call your county commissioner and explain your situation. Since it’s between your house and the meter it could be a county issue. Also, and this is the important part, this guy or gal is an elected representative and is actually looking for opportunities to be of service to his/her constituents. He/she has staff waiting for calls like yours so they can do what they were elected to do … because you are a constituent … and because they want to be reelected. (They won’t ask you who you voted for in the last election, either.)
I had nothing to lose and maybe something to gain, so I reluctantly made the call, but didn’t really expect very much.
A voice answered, “Thanks for calling Commissioner ____’s office; what can we do for you.” I explained my situation. “Thanks, we’ll look right into this and get back to you.”
A couple of days later I get a call, “You can expect a county crew at your home Tuesday morning to fix your leak. And thanks again for calling Commissioner ____’s office. Is there anything else we can help you with?”
It really was that easy. And that effective.
The moral of the story?
Ask for what you want, or what you feel is needed, but ask someone who might be able to do something about it,
In Albuquerque, ask an APS School Board Member, a County Commissioner, a City Council-person, a state/federal legislator. Be clear. Be polite. Explain your situation calmly with enough detail for someone to understand and consider. Ask for what you want. Thank them for taking your call.
And remember the important part: this guy or gal was elected to represent you and is looking for opportunities to be of service to constituents – and you are a constituent. They have staff waiting for your call so they can do what they were elected to do – serve their constituents … because it’s right … and because they want to be reelected..
Bitching doesn’t work – but asking the right person politely can do wonders!
So, right now, go to Education Contact Information to look up supportive contact names, telephone numbers and email addresses. Then put them in your address book for easy access … and begin using them when you need to.