Professionals in the field of policy and politics have to deal with the fact that their schedules and priorities are fluid and often unpredictable. This is exciting, but it is also exhausting. That’s why it’s nice to have some staples of the job that are constant and forever unchanging.
For example, we can always count on the government either being delayed or closed at the slightest threat of a snow storm, and our Congress never misses an opportunity to scramble over a budget deal at the end of the year. But there is no greater constant on Capitol Hill than the never-ending messages of love received from constituents.
Because these wonderful people give us a touchstone we can depend on through all the chaos of Washington, it seems only right they be recognized for their dedicated service with a list of reasons why we appreciate them.
- They never forget to call
I haven’t spoken to some of my friends back home for months, and I’m lucky if my mom calls me once every few weeks. To someone working off the Hill, that may be a depressing reality. But I’m #blessed because I know that every day, no matter what, I’ve got at least 10 messages waiting for me from my favorite constituents.
- They are passionate
I used to think my drunken uncle Dave was the most passionate person alive when he “discussed” why the Bears are the worst team in the NFL during Christmas parties. Then I took a job on the Hill and listened to constituent calls. Sorry uncle Dave… turns out Obamacare and gay marriage are both worse than the Bears.
- They tell amazing stories
Okay. I’m just going to say it. Policy can be boooooring. That’s why I’m so thankful for the amazing constituents in my boss’s district. Not only can they tie political corruption and international conspiracy theories into the same conversation, but they can do it with great detail for extended periods of time, while never once mentioning my boss or his district. I thought I was a good storyteller, but let me tell you something… sometimes I worry these wordsmiths will steal my job. No joke.
- They give me an opportunity to shine
Our constituents must know that I don’t get many opportunities to show off the in-depth legislative knowledge I’ve learned since starting here. Why else would they call and recite inaccurate information and statistics to me? I’ll tell you what… my family is probably more appreciative than I am because the last thing they want is me running my mouth about the intricacies of H.R. 1356 while they’re trying to enjoy their Irish coffees after Christmas dinner.
- Their faith in my boss’s ability is unwavering
No one has more faith in my boss than the people of his district, and they call to let me know it every day. I mean, God bless ‘em… they were convinced that he could single-handedly repeal Obamacare, impeach the president, and end global warming. No one is a bigger fan of my boss than I am, and of course, he gets a lot done. But even I don’t have that kind of faith in him.
- They remind me that there’s always more to learn
If I’m being honest, I need to admit that sometimes I think I’m hot stuff. I mean, I think I’m pretty cool when I’m throwing around facts and figures about complex legislation like it’s nobody’s business. But then a constituent calls about some obscure bill that I’ve never heard of. They’re sitting there on the other end of the line, waiting for an intelligent and thoughtful response while I’m frantically searching online to figure out what the legislation even is. Thanks to all you constituents out there for keeping me humble.
- They reaffirm my faith in my political party
When you’re in the middle of legislative battles within your own caucus, it’s easy to start losing faith in your party. But then those constituents who disagree with your boss call. They emphatically explain why your boss is wrong on every issue. They question your personal principles, beliefs, and life decisions, then say something whacky like… you tell your boss that we need to drastically reduce our military because war is not the answer OR marriage is between Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve! Faith in party? Instantly renewed.
- They make me part of their daily lives
One of the most gratifying aspects of my job is connecting with constituents. The joy I feel when I discuss important issues of the day increases tenfold when they are kind enough to pass the phone along to other members of their family, because then I have the opportunity to learn of all their views and assure them all their voices are heard. Being far away from my real family, it’s just nice to feel part of someone else’s, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
- They are the best bosses ever
Congressional staffers are the luckiest workers in the world because we get paid to talk to our bosses. And no, I don’t mean the Members we work for. I mean our constituents. They call to help us do our jobs better. They write in to help us think differently about important issues. They remind us daily how lucky we are that they give us the money to put food on our tables and clothes on our backs. Without them, we’d be nothing.
For all the reasons on this list and more, we love and appreciate our constituents. Thank you for keeping our switch boards blinking, our telephones ringing, and our keyboards clicking. What would our lives be like without you?