What does Congress do with our letters?


December 31, 2002, 09:29 AM
I know it differs from person to person, but what does your congressperson do with your mail?

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Greg L
December 31, 2002, 09:37 AM
Canned response based on certain key words in my letter. Then circular file probably. Not that my Congressman ever sees the mail. I'm sure that some staffer reads them and tallies up who is for something and who is against it then tells Congressman the total numbers and which way to vote to piss off the least amount of people. I would like to think otherwise but I'm not too hopefull.


December 31, 2002, 10:06 AM
what GregL said. Only exception is if you are a known and recognized heavy donor, or have an easily recognizable 'public' persona. Then you might get 'different' treatment.:banghead:

December 31, 2002, 10:26 AM

:D :D :D :D :D :D :D

December 31, 2002, 11:04 AM
What does Congress do with our letters?

My best guess would be toilet paper. But some might also be used for party confetti, mattress stuffing, or simply comic relief after a long day writing legislation like the Homeland Security Act.

December 31, 2002, 11:39 AM
No, they rarely see them, but the staffers who are cranking out those canned responses based on key words often keep track of how many letter came in on a certain topic.

That's why short letters -- postcards even -- are more effective. Keep it short and on one current topic, "Vote against the XYZ gun control bill next week" rather than a two page ramble about the constitution and the founders.

December 31, 2002, 12:13 PM
I sorta agree with cuchulainnth that a staffer looks at'em. But Congressmen (HoR) are probably more skittish about letters than Senators. Senators often rely on short memories, they're only up for election every six years, whereas Congressmen are in a perpetual state of campaigning with their 2 year election cycle. But keep the cards and letters going in and they all have e-mail (http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.html) that you pay for, so use it.

December 31, 2002, 12:22 PM
Just want to remind you guys to send your letters out early because they are being treated for anthrax and this delays their arrival

David Roberson
December 31, 2002, 05:26 PM
I'm an inveterate writer of letters to elected officials, and I've discussed this very thing with some of their staff members.

It does indeed vary among officials, but staff members of two different representatives told me that their drill for handling constituent communications is basically as follows:

Letters about different issues are counted (pro/con) and filed, and a few of the most articulate are actually passed along the addressee. Also, letters from unusually prominent folks or people that the official actually knows are passed along.

Faxes and e-mails are simply counted pro or con and the numbers are reported in briefings or Memos of the Day ("205 e-mails in favor of SB 666, which establishes death camps for handgun owners, and 212 against").

I think the pre-printed cards that the NRA and others always want us to send in are totally valueless as afre as influencing opinion.

December 31, 2002, 09:24 PM
Guess what they use for toilet paper!

January 1, 2003, 09:27 AM
Please note that the use of these letters and postcards as toilet paper is absolutely false.

Most writing paper along with currency is to stiff and slick to be properly used for the aforementioned activity. Think "John Wayne Toilet Paper", rough and tough and won't take **** off of anybody.

And isn't this a heckuva way to make my first post here!

January 1, 2003, 11:46 AM
I kind of like the metaphor. Don't you?:D

January 1, 2003, 12:05 PM
Why do you think that the NRA postcards are useless? They're short, to the point, and instantly recognizable.

January 1, 2003, 12:07 PM
Gauging from the responses from D.C.(or lack thereof),I think they use the
letters to line bird cages and kitty poo poo boxes.The rest they
burn to keep them warm at night!

QuickDraw http://www.handykult.de/plaudersmilies.de/person/pfiade.gif

David Roberson
January 1, 2003, 02:15 PM
Bacchus, you're right that the NRA postcards are short and recognizable. They're recognizable as a knee-jerk response from a well-mobilized body of people who are committed on this issue -- in other words, an entirely predictable group. Elected officials know even before the postcards arrive that anti-gun bills will produce this kind of canned response.

A rational, well-thought-out letter, however, can't be pigeonholed as easily, and the recipient doesn't know if it comes from a True Believer or from a fencesitter who has been persuaded by logic and reason, and whose opinions on other issues -- and of the elected official's actions -- are less predictable.

Politicians already know the responses that their actions will provoke from extremists on both sides of an issue. What concerns them is the response -- and the size of that response -- from the voters in the middle.

Raoul Duke
January 1, 2003, 02:41 PM
They recycle in Al Gore's office, because, well you know, the Earth's in the balance!

January 1, 2003, 05:07 PM
I'm pretty sure that a bunch of mine have been forwarded to the appropriate "ABC" branch of Gobernment for further investigation:rolleyes: I am on the "crazy white-man gunowner list"!:evil:

January 1, 2003, 05:13 PM
David Robertson is right about the NRA postcards. They carry about the same weight as a phone call, maybe even less. The staffers know that the sender didn't really make a concerted effort to contact his legislator.

Hand-written is the best. And the legislators do pay attention, even if they don't agree on the issue.

Mark Tyson
January 1, 2003, 05:17 PM
A staffer told me that on average their office received about 200 letters a day. The NRA letters were singled out as singularly annoying. However, he told me that they do indeed read some of the more articulate letters and used all letters in general to guage which way the winds are blowing on a particular issue. He advised me that in his opinion a letter writing campaign can sway a politician who is on the fence.

January 1, 2003, 08:31 PM
David Roberson,

Thanks for the reply. Great points to ponder.

4v50 Gary
January 1, 2003, 11:15 PM
Canned response and my letter goes into the recycle bin. Hand written postcards are cheaper.

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