Answering constituent mail, in the old days

by Walter Olson on April 1, 2010

“One of the countless drawbacks of being in Congress is that I am compelled to receive impertinent letters from a jackass like you in which you say I promised to have the Sierra Madre mountains reforested and I have been in Congress two months and haven’t done it. Will you please take two running jumps and go to hell.”

— Congressman John McGroarty, engaged in constituent service (1934).

(via Magliocca/Concur Op).


1 w. rogers turner, jr. 04.01.10 at 8:30 am

I was a low level Congressional staffer in 89-90…I still have copies of some of the more colorful correspondence we received.

2 Bill Beeman 04.01.10 at 9:31 am

Well, at least this, on its face, responds to the issue raised by the constituent. I’ve yet to receive a response from Senator Boxer that is not not completely off the subject.

3 kimsch 04.01.10 at 6:23 pm

same with Melissa Bean. We’ve sent many missives and have received only the boilerplate letters that she posts on her site. Never once have we received an answer that addresses any of our issues.

4 Doug 04.02.10 at 8:49 am

My GOP congressmen, when I send him by email my concerns, has always received a letter that addresses my email. In fact, it is polite, and to the point. And it looks like most of it is NOT boiler plate.

5 Bernie S 04.03.10 at 9:54 am

It varies. I wrote both my senators and my congressman an email on an issue that concerned me. I received a direct response from one senator, pure boilerplate from the other, and what appeared to be a customized form response from the congressman (which I thought was approptiate, since the issue was one on which all three undoubtedly received a lot of constituent input).

6 1sttofight 04.03.10 at 1:46 pm

Hmmm, I sent my Senator, Richard Shelby(R. Al,) an email expressing my displeasure with the way he voted on a bill and received a very nice 3 page letter explaining why he voted the way he did signed in ink within a week.

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