Op-ed: Constituents need state reps who answer their calls

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Deja Alvarez

In addition to serving constituents by representing them in legislation decisions, it’s crucial that state representatives provide strong service support for constituents who need assistance. 

While state representatives spend much of their time in Harrisburg fighting for the district’s interests, service must also include responding to constituents’ requests for information and help. Constituents should never have to wait days for a response to their inquiries. 

It’s important that even if the constituents’ services office cannot answer the question directly, they can direct the callers to the correct resources and be able to explain the difference between state issues, city issues, and personal or business issues. 

Often the answers are unclear or confusing. Take Philadelphia’s 2,335 miles of roadway, for instance. Responsibility for maintaining and overseeing the roads is split among the Philadelphia Streets Department, PennDOT, the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department, and several other public and private entities. So who’s responsible for fixing that pothole? Even if they can’t, you deserve to know who can. 

Other common issues where a state representative’s office may be helpful include state unemployment benefits, property taxes, birth and death records, driver and vehicle information, state education grants, state healthcare resources, and voter information. 

All state representatives should employ a team that makes that information readily available through all channels including responsive text messaging and email services. Your state representative works for you, and you shouldn’t be left on the hook.

Deja Alvarez is a democratic candidate for State Representative in Pennsylvania’s 182nd District. With more than a decade of experience in the nonprofit and public health field, Alvarez is committed to building on progressive values, economic recovery, and historic LGBTQ representation in Harrisburg. Follow her at @dejaforpa

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