Does Rep. Heinrich Really Serve Us? (His constituent responses seem to indicate “no.”)

I recently emailed Rep. Heinrich about the second engine for the F-35 jet engine. Like so many people who write their members of Congress, I used a third-party organization. In this case, the group was Citizens Against Government Waste. But that is all just back-story, what is really important is the response (or lack thereof) from Heinrich’s office.

The letter I got (mailed back) from Heinrich’s office can be found here. In the letter, Heinrich — more likely an intern or low-level staffer — acknowledges the issue I wrote in about, but that’s about it. He doesn’t mention how the Congressman voted, offer any additional information about the issue, or offer any other insights. He simply complains about his workload and admonishes me to contact him through his web page. I worked on the Hill, I know that these letters are “canned,” but these people still represent us. Shouldn’t they cater to our desires, not the other way around? If nothing else, these letters are a great opportunity for Heinrich to help educate his constituents on the issue of at least present his views on the topic.

This is not the first time Heinrich has sent back a letter admonishing me to use his website rather than a third-party site.

Contrast that with Sen. Udall’s lengthy and informative letter I just received (yes, I write these guys regularly and you should too) on the financial reform bill that just passed Congress. Udall’s office emailed me (hey, I’m already online, it’s okay to email, plus it saves taxpayers money) a 13 paragraph, highly-detailed response which even included information on how he voted on various amendments to the bill.

Based on constituent services, it would seem that Udall is the one running for office this November, not Heinrich.

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6 Replies to “Does Rep. Heinrich Really Serve Us? (His constituent responses seem to indicate “no.”)”

  1. My experience with Heinrich and both senators is that any question or comment results in a boilerplate response that generally fails to either address my question or acknowledge my comments.

    A few days ago I emailed Udall asking that he vote against further federal aid to cover state budget shortfalls (because it’s like giving cocaine to an addict). His response was a wordy dissertation on why he voted against the bipartisan budget commission and that today’s economy is Bush’s fault.

    The comment form on his web site forces you to choose a topic, and I suspect his software delivers a programmed response based on this forced choice. As far as I can tell, no human is involved in the process.

  2. Similarly, after providing extensive info on Afghanistan to his staff to prep him for his trip to the region, I received no after-action report on his findings or whether my info had helped orient him on the cultural and military situation. Discouraging.

  3. Senator Udall’s office may be more likely to send detailed responses via email, but try calling his office. He has some of the rudest and most patronizing staff members I have ever encountered. Senator Udall and his staff are like President Obama. They see no need to even pretend they represent or respect the constitutents who disagree with what they are doing.

  4. Speaking of the second engine issue – I note from the Albuquerque Journal that Senator Bingaman was “studying the issue”. Let’s see, the CUSTOMER, the Department of Defense, doesn’t want it but Bingaman was second guessing that decision. Bingaman, who do you work for? GE.

  5. During the health care legislative debate I e-mailed Congressman Heinrich twice. Each had a sub-set of issues that I had with the bill. Despite the sub-sets being distinctly different I received the same form letter twice from our illustrious Congressman.

  6. This is but another illustration of why private enterprise capitalism works and government doesn’t. If you want something in a capitalist system, you vote with your hard earned money. If you want something from government, you must plead your case. And it’s in the government’s interest not to respond to you – that’s just more work. Whereas the capitalist will be rewarded almost instantly for a good response – he’ll get money in his pocket. This seems like a very simple lesson about a simple system but it’s one our society has a hard time learning. Our “representatives” don’t get rewarded for representing us, it’s just more work to answer our queries, so they will do whatever’s easiest to make us go away.

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