Know Your Legislator!
(at least a little bit!)

This communication has no intention of being long-winded; rather it is a simple statement of what Joe Q. Citizen, who might also be a motorcyclist, can do to inform himself/herself. It's learning a few things about the elected legislators who represent you, having them know what is important to you, as well as you knowing what is important to them.

A person might say “But I'm not political…” This isn't about being political so much as about being informed, as opposed to being ignorant. It is very easy for a person to say among mixed company that “I don't like this” or “I don't want that”, and while your advocacy organization may already know this, in acting on your behalf, a more direct involvement on your part is recognized by your elected officials. The person, who inputs directly, especially as a constituent, has a great deal of personal power.

Since you are being represented by people whose job it is to establish, define, and re-define the policies that affect your daily life then it should also be a matter of course that you have some familiarity with that person's background and the political agenda brought along with him/her.

This is Easy…

One of the best sources for finding who your legislators are and more about them is to go out on the ‘web' to: www.vote-smart.org Based upon your state of residence in the country, the site will provide you the names and contact info of U.S. Senators and congressmen; also enter your zip code and you will then identify your local representatives. Almost all officials have a comprehensive biography you can examine. Once there, and with the contact info in front of you, why not take a next simple step by contacting them (in whatever mode you choose), state that you are constituent, and ask to be put on an e-mail contact or mailing list. Many legislators have them, and will be happy to oblige – they like to keep you informed of legislation, what they are doing, and providing commentary. You can read it on your computer in your own time at home, and can always send your thoughts by e-mail. Also, many times they will have local, informal public forums and appearances to tell you about, and you are invited to sit in and, if you choose, to input.

The point being established here, and to remember, is that legislators do take notice of who has interest. Proper and respectful communications are very important. Legislators are very busy people who try to make time to listen to their constituents; as such, they are constantly dealing with people who want something. Be also interested in them and what they are trying to accomplish (even if you don't agree, be respectful) and you will find that they reciprocate.

Most of us are familiar with the Rolling Stones' tune “You Can't Always Get What You Want.” You won't get it if you don't communicate for it, either. This is a truism in life. Choose to be a little more informed and involved…

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