I have always felt that in addition to voting, we all have a responsibility to let our elected officials (whether or not we voted for them) know how we feel as their constituents...
Most times you contact them, you will get a "canned" response to your stance. These are not always bad, in responding, you at least get the impression they took notice...
This is a response I received today from an email I sent Senator Warner several weeks ago:
Dear Mr. Rimington,
Thank you for contacting me with your views on the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. In order to best represent you as your United States Senator, it is vital that I hear your views on this and other important matters.
In 1993, President Clinton, in conjunction with senior military leadership and the Senate and House Armed Service Committees, instituted the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy which bars openly gay and lesbian individuals from serving in the military. On January 27, 2010, President Obama said in the State of the Union Address that he plans to work with senior military leadership and Congress to repeal the 1993 law.
Since then, the Senate Armed Services Committee has held a series of hearings to address the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and has solicited the views of the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and each of the Service Chiefs. The Committee then passed a provision that would provide the Department of Defense the ability to repeal the policy after concurrence from the President, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the repeal would not negatively impact readiness. The House of Representatives passed a similar version in their FY 2011 National Defense Authorization Bill that also includes repeal. The bill has yet to come before the whole Senate for a vote.
I support repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" in an orderly way, working with members of the uniformed services and our military leadership. Given the complexity and sensitivity of the matter, I believe we must place great weight on the opinions of our military leadership and ensure that we are treating all service members with dignity and respect.
Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me with your views. I will continue to keep your thoughts in mind as the situation unfolds. As we move forward with the 111th Congress, please continue to be in touch with your opinions and concerns.
MARK R. WARNER
United States Senator
It's always a pleasure to get a response, regardless of it's timeliness and also nice to see there was some thought in the response...
Over and "Out" from the RED State of Virginia, here in Portsmouth.