Many times you read a story about property taxes or ag education reform or some other ag-related topic, and it closes asking you to contact your legislator to tell them how you feel. You may even see those kinds of articles here.
I got to thinking – is that a good use of your time? I came up with 10 reasons NOT to bother talking to my state representative or senator, and why you shouldn't talk to them either.
1. They will do what they want to do anyway. Politics is cut and dried, at least it often seems that way. They wouldn't even dream of doing what I asked them to do anyway.
2. I'm too busy doing real work. I'm going to need to go deliver lambs now any minute. Then I always have something to do. Why waste precious time talking to someone who will give me lip service at best?
3. I'll never get past their 'handlers.' I don't know if state legislators have handlers or not, but they have secretarial people and assistants. It's easier to get their phone number or email than anyone else's. Talk about a straight trail to file 13!
4. I don't even know who my legislator is! They probably don't have a list on the Internet or anything of what area they represent, so I wouldn't know where to start.
5. Let the retired guy who is the soil and water president do that. Legislators will at least give him the time of day, for as long as it takes them to get away from him, right?
6. Take a legislator to lunch? Are you kidding? They get enough free meals as it is now. Why would I want to buy their lunch?
7. I pay dues to groups like Farm Bureau so they can lobby for me. That way I don't have to. I always ask them what they did for me lately. All I get back is it's what they kept from happening that counts. What kind of double-speak is that?
8. All they care about is my vote. I'll just wait two years until they campaign again, and then I will at least know who my legislator is.
9. No matter what I do, they're going to find a way to get more of my money. That's how politicians work.
10. I talked to my legislator many years ago, and nothing happened. It was a waste of time. Moral- never talk to them again!
OK, before Katrina Hall, Indiana Farm Bureau director of legislative services, or Don Villwock, president of Indiana Farm Bureau, or numerous other people call me, obviously this is the list of TOP 10 EXCUSES why people don't talk to your legislators. Both Hall and Villwock would say agriculture is in the best position in years to make real headway on property tax issues related to farmland.
Both would also say that legislators do respond to what they hear. Especially if it's a personal phone call, a heartfelt letter or email, they listen because they figure that for every person they hear from, there are many more who feel the same way.
No, things won't always turn out like you want. But if you don't become engaged in the process, you, including myself, don't have a right to complain if it doesn't work out in our favor.
Go talk to your legislators!