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Opinion

Reader says elected officials should listen to constituents

10/17/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

I am a small business owner and I try to actively inform my elected officials of my views on various topics. I feel it is my duty as a citizen of the United States, a Constitutional Republic, to participate in the process. A republic is literally a form of government in which affairs of state are a “public matter” (Latin: res publica), not the private concern of the rulers, in which public offices are subsequently appointed or elected rather than privately accommodated, i.e. through inheritance or divine mandate.

Recently, I contacted both Senators Sherrod Brown [D-Ohio] and Rob Portman [R-Ohio] to ask them to sign on to a letter Senator [Jerry] Moran [R-Kansas] was circulating regarding the U.N. [United Nations] Arms Treaty. Their decision to sign or not to sign should be based on the views of their constituents, not their personal views.

What I found interesting was while Sen. Brown’s phone message and email replies stated his offices were closed due to the government shutdown, the email I received also said: “If you have a story to share about how the federal government shutdown has affected you, please email Shutdown@brown.senate.gov.”

So his offices weren’t actually closed, but staffed only in case you had something to share that supported his position.

In stark contrast was my call to Sen. Rob Portman’s office. I explained the purpose of my call, was put on hold, and was then answered directly, in person, by Senator Portman. We had a detailed conversation regarding my position on the U.N. treaty, and several other current topics including the national debt and federal spending.

I was taught in grade school that in our form of representative government, we elect a small number of individuals to go to Washington and make our views known during the legislative process.

In order for them to do so, they have to listen when we speak.

Mark Sedlack, New Franklin

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