The Mark of a Good Local Politician

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Lately I have been trying to get more involved in my local politics. Not that I am running for any offices, but rather I want to get more informed and more involved in the issues that affect me and my family. As such, I started corresponding with my representatives.

I've posted emails to my city councilman in West Valley, and to the Mayor of Salt Lake County. For the two of you who have been following my blog, you probably know the issues I have written about (bike routes in West Valley and County sponsored UTOPIA installations, respectively).

The problem is, neither one have bothered to even send me a generic form letter giving me their positions on these issues. Granted, they are not nearly as important as many of the other issues that they deal with, but it would be nice if they would at least acknowledge my questions. My wife chastises me for complaining, but didn't I elect them into office? Don't I deserve a response, if only a generic one from a staffer?

Well, I tried my luck with another representative: Jim Bradley. He is a member of the Salt Lake County Council, and is a Councilman at Large (meaning that anyone in the county can vote for him). I voted for him initially, not because of his political affiliation, but because he actually bothered to have a website with his positions outlined. I agreed with his position on the county spending County funds that should benefit the entire county to increase the economy in just one city (i.e., voting against funding the Real Salt Lake Stadium project). I figured that I was in for another dead end, but I was pleasantly proved wrong.

The Original Letter
Dear Mr. Bradley,

It was recently brought to my attention that the county is reconsidering allocated funds for TRAXX in leu of road repair funds. While I am all for repaired roads, I feel that the urgency for TRAXX to the West Side is by far more important.

The West Side has been in dire need of TRAXX since it's inception. Lower income families on the West Side need a reliable form of transportation that is more predictable, direct, and inexpensive. It is the right thing to do, though it may delay some road repairs.

For someone known for their fiscal responsibility (I voted for you specifically because you voted down the Real Salt Lake Stadium funding project), I hope you understand the importance this project holds for the West Side, and work with your colleagues to bolster the construction projects here on the West Side. If a compromise must be struck, then have it delay expansion in directions other than the West Side. The economic impact for the West Side of the valley would be positive indeed.

The Response

Thank you for your e-mail regarding transit funding. As you might have heard, at last evening’s Council of Governments (COG) meeting, members unanimously voted to maintain the original prioritization list. This list includes rail projects as high priorities.

Thank you for your continued support of transit projects.

Jim Bradley
Council Member at Large

That was it, a little message back to let me know that he read my email, and the status of the issue I had in question. That, my friends, is a good politician. Mister Bradley, if by some miracle you read my blog, I want you to know that you have made me a devoted supporter. Should you choose to run for County Mayor, you would have my vote. If only other politicians would have the same dedication to their constituents, perhaps more people will feel involved in the political process and vote.

It's interesting that the same principle that works in Customer Service, Education, etc. works for Politics as well: People like to feel as though they matter.