Meeting Constituents

I like to get out there and meet the people. Come campaign time, I am on the trail. As a campaign manager or the candidate herself (actually a congresswoman), you want to encounter a good percentage of the population. You want to travel as far as you can to reach the masses in a sufficient period of time. They want to hear your views on the issues and you want to hear their concerns. Knowing what is in their hearts is the only way to construct appropriate speeches that speak to most everyone. If you live in isolation from the public, you will find yourself getting behind your goal. You never want to make idle promises, but frankly you won’t if you don’t acknowledge and learn about the topics of the day. The art of politics is to present a solution to real, concrete problems. They can be major issues or of minor import. The point is that they mean something to at least some of your constituents.

Take my last campaign on behalf of the congresswoman in my state. I enjoyed meeting a variety of people and sometimes I got immediate results. For example, I was asked to visit with a welder’s union of considerable size. They had a spokesman who was very clear on their needs. They wanted their union boss to focus more on personal safety on construction sites. As a result of injuries that were higher than the average for the country, the members were requesting a change in required gear. This meant their helmets in particular. They were old and of a previous style. At one time they were no doubt sufficient, but their day had come and gone. New designs are available if the powers that be make a decision to underwrite the expense. They showed me an example of the best auto darkening welding helmet. It always comes down to the issue of expense. Of course, on the union’s side was the fact that most manufacturers offer a discount for a bulk order.

One type, they tell me, features a solar-powered variable lens which is just as effective as a rechargeable battery-operated unit. They really got into describing their desired helmet and its lightweight nylon construction that offers superior protection and comfort. Imagine yourself welding outside all day. These benefits are meaningful. The union rep mentioned that it is important to reduce fatigue and improve balance. The ideal helmet will maintain its strength and durability for a decade. The shape is specially designed for proper ventilation, a full range of head movement, and to adequately accommodate a standard half-mask respirator. They really love the auto-darkening filtered shade.

I passed on the word to the congresswoman who did the best she could to mandate new helmets for the state welding union. She was able to influence the creation of next year’s budget that will allow every member to have an auto-darkening welding helmet. The union rep was a pretty happy camper and sent an effusive thank you note.