East Falls Local Article: My Magic Wand is Polished and Ready

My office receives many, many requests, via phone, email, from time to time via fax and, of course, in person as I am out and about at a district event, the local farmers markets or just taking a walk, food shopping or gardening.

These requests vary from the mundane to the complex (almost anything to do with unemployment compensation in the past 18 months), to the not so occasional (can you help because the bureaucracy seems to be ‘stuck on stupid').

I hear regularly from constituents weighing in on proposed laws that they want to see enacted, proposed laws that they want to see stopped, and those who contact me, their state representative, but actually need to seek assistance from their local or federal elected officials.

These requests add up to hundreds in a week and I am grateful that citizens are reaching out and engaging.

It is, however, a point of frustration for me when I am unable to respond to each and every request.  I often comment that it is a math problem; there are only 24 hours in my day, too.

My staff work diligently to provide outstanding constituent services and I rarely hear that my staff have disappointed or underperformed; I hear the opposite. We strive to offer service with compassion and empathy and we, too, are disappointed if we cannot solve a problem to an individual’s 100% satisfaction.

Although not perfect, it is a point of pride that my staff and I do our utmost best to respond to all forms of correspondence as timely as possible, some which may need clarification, redirection, or in many cases research to understand the legislation I am being asked to advocate for or against. 

I am particularly intrigued by the emails that begin with I demand that you do such and such … as I have never thought that to be a successful strategy to advocate or ask for anything.

Over the years I have been known to telephone folks who have chosen to take a particularly nasty approach to their correspondence. Interestingly, those individuals are truly surprised at the personal contact and at times chagrined at, if not the substance of their message, the words they chose to express their sentiments when I read that correspondence to them to refresh their memory. 

One of my favorite aspects of my job is dialoging with my constituents.  I am interested in hearing all points of view and I find that the best way to work in Harrisburg is by being pragmatic and finding common ground. 

At times, I too get discouraged because I know I cannot heal all the hurts or fix all the troubles or make legislation magically move forward or stop.  All these actions rely on established processes which I have openly acknowledged are far from perfect.

Changing the process in Harrisburg has been one of my top priorities as your representative to allow for a fairer process that considers all viewpoints. I continue to commit to do my best to improve those processes, and to dialogue with constituents to understand what is in their hearts and on their minds.

This is when I take my proverbial magic wand into the shop and request a tune up and polishing. 

Know that I returned to session in September, with my newly tuned up and polished wand with the goal to make magic happen. Of course, we both know that “magic” is really the hard work of paying attention to the details and working across the aisle on a daily basis.    

Thank you for staying in touch, reaching out, and paying attention.

As always, thank you for sharing with me your state related concerns.  I can be reached at 215-482-8726 or at RepdeLissio@pahouse.net.  You can also find past articles at www.RepDeLissio.com.