Friday, February 29, 2008

Lawmaking in Washington DC

After a full day visiting my congressional delegation offices in Washington DC, which I do once each year, I marveled at how simple it is to schedule 10-minute appointments with either the representative or senator. During this day, I met with 4 congressmen and with 4 aides to my congressmen.

Access to the buildings, Cannon, Longworth and Rayburn for the representatives and Russell for the senators, is very easy, requiring only going through a metal detector and passing cell phones and cameras through the imaging machine, much easier than the experience of going through a TSA checkpoint at an airport. With a pass, I took the train underneath the Capitol to get from the House office buildings to the Russell office building.

I attended a House Armed Services Committee hearing and thanks to Representive Joe Wilson shook hands with the Chief of Staff of the US Army, General George W. Casey, and the Secretary of the Army, Pete Geren.

This is much more effective communication of your views than sending an email or letter and you get contacts who can help get the kind of legislation you want.

Furthermore, once these visits are made, you can go home and get in touch with the local office of the representative or senator for follow-up.

Combine this with visits with the representatives and senators in your statehouse and you can be a part of the lawmaking process there.

This is what American democracy is, easy access to the lawmakers on a local and national level.

A very small fraction of our people in the US vote and an extremely small percentage ever meet face to face with their representatives and senators.

This is the exercise of power.

No comments: