Bringing in new assistant provides opportunity to review what job’s about

I want to welcome Susan, my new legislative assistant.

Susan is picking up the rhythm of my office quickly and brings diverse experiences that will be very

helpful as she assists constituents in navigating state government.

The past couple weeks have served as a good reminder of the many areas of my job. But the highlight of training has been introducing Susan to constituents and how we serve the many and varied needs that people bring to my office.

Over the last 10 years I have had some pretty interesting conversations and requests.

A few years ago a gentleman emailed me a picture from his colonoscopy and asked for help navigating insurance.

I have had adult children of constituents call on my home phone (when we had one) to inform me of the passing of their parent and inviting me to the funeral.

I can’t begin to tell you how many conversations have taken place in the grocery store or high school football games.

Once, one of the district attorneys in the two counties I represent texted me while I was shopping at

Fred Meyer to have me sign something. I told him to come to the department store and I’d sign

his form. He did.

Our son, while in high school, came home with a note from a teacher asking me to help them arrange a field trip to the Capitol. I did.

I have received texts and phone calls at all hours. One year, early on the morning of the Fourth of July, I received a call about a party that had taken place the night before, that was, arguably, a bit out of control.

Many text messages have been sent to me – everything from asking me how to vote at election time, doctor’s reports, special events, birthday parties and graduation celebrations.

Let me be very clear … I love it!

I’m honored when people invite me into some of the most important areas or concerns in their life. I’m humbled and take it seriously, that they think I may have something to offer by way of direction or contacts.

Unfortunately, when I am given a request for something in the produce aisle at Safeway, by the time I get through the check stand and to my car I may have forgotten an important detail – or, worse yet, forgotten the request for a day or two.

It seems intuitive that if you contact your state representative, personally, you’ll get the fastest response.

Often, though, the best way to get a complete and fairly quick answer to a question is to email my office. Let me tell you why: I work for approximately 64,000 constituents, who have different views, different issues, and each a unique way of communicating.

Writing down concerns helps to define the problem and reveals what we really want to accomplish or solve.

When that request comes into the office, it is initially my legislative assistant who reaches out to

the appropriate contact. As a legislator, I have a reference manual of all state agencies and their contacts. My assistant is trained to get fast and complete responses for constituents.

Within a few weeks, Susan will have personal contacts in many agencies, including personal cell numbers, and will know exactly whom to contact to solve problems.

There just isn’t enough of me to be a Lone Ranger and effectively serve 64,000 people.

This is a great time for me to extend a heartfelt apology. I have dropped a ball or two over the years and I hate it when I do. If I have done that to you, please forgive me. If you didn’t get your concern addressed, let’s take another run at it.

I can’t solve all issues. I am here, with the help of my staff, to problem solve and get answers for you.

Serving constituents is the best part of my job! Don’t ever hesitate to reach out with your questions or needs.