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Elections do have consequences.  And sometimes, getting some new blood in elected office is just what a particular district needs.  A Republican constituent of Kirsten Gillibrand, one of our Blue America candidates from 2006, took the time to compliment her in a local paper, and I thought I'd share a bit of it with everyone.  To wit:

As a former aide to John Sweeney while he was in the Pataki administration, I must say what a tremendous job Kirsten Gillibrand is doing. She is the most accessible politician in the region. Every weekend, she is somewhere in the 20th Congressional District, letting us know exactly where she stands on issues and why, which is a refreshing change. I'm sure we all have stories about experiences we have had dealing with Rep. Gillibrand, but I feel compelled to tell you about mine….

I figured I would see the usual political maneuver in which the politician walks through the room, shakes a couple of hands, gets a picture with a leading area vet, says how hard she is fighting for us in Washington and then is whisked out of the room, all in a matter of minutes.

What happened could not have been further from this. Rep. Gillibrand went to the podium, disconnected the microphone, walked to the vet seated nearest her, gave him the microphone, sat down, opened a notebook, got out a pen and asked, "What do you want me to do as your representative in Congress?" I have to tell you, I was astonished.

Rep. Gillibrand sat there for 2 1/2 hours, listening as we passed the microphone from person to person. She asked questions, gave opinions and answers, and took down personal contact information if she did not have an answer, promising to call us back.

Our district could not have asked for a better person to serve us. If she keeps this up, she will be our representative for life.

Amazing how just listening to your consituents, treating them like fellow human beings and peers, and taking their suggestions into account while valuing their real life experience can do a world of good, isn't it? Here's to more good news from more of our Blue America candidates in the days ahead. 

I want to take a moment to underscore the importance of participating in face-to-face meetings like this one with your elected officials.  They need to hear your voice, talk to you about the issues you face, and listen to your suggestions on solutions to problems in your community.  Otherwise, the only voices they will hear are those of the Beltway political consultants and the K Street crowd, and that simply is not not acceptable.  Citizenship is something that we do — so please, take some time to do something today that makes your voice heard on an issue that you think is important.

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com

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