Tuesday, August 22, 2006

 

It's the Constituents, Stupid!

So, here I am, live from Knoxville, thanks to the kind hospitality of TCASK board member Katie Blackburn and her parents. I spent yesterday evening in Chattanooga and then drove to Knoxville where I have meeting with the bishop, Daryl Holton's defense attorney, and the Knoxville chapter of TCASK as well as a talk to give at St. John Neumann church.

But that's not what I came here to tell you about. I came to talk to folks that we've been working with about the elections and what we are going to do in regards to our new elected officials. You see, new legislators are crucial for us, and we're going to have some new ones, particularly here in East Tennessee. It seems that almost the whole legislative contingent from Chattanooga is going to be new, with two of the three Senate seats open and no incumbent running. So how do we capitalize on these elections?

To answer that question, we have the TCASK legislative committee. This committee will be focused on our legislative efforts and so we need folks from all around the state to be involved.

Why?

Well, when a new legislator is elected, the first thing that they'll want to hear from is their constituents. There are two months between their election and the first time that they show up in Nashville. Which makes that prime season for us to bring our very serious concerns regarding the death penalty to their attention. And that's where you come in!

I'm here recruiting members from each of our East Tennessee chapters to serve on the legislative committee. No travel is required, because this is all work to do in your own community. All we'll ask for is once every moth to six weeks, we'll have a conference call to work out strategy and coordinate our efforts. Then members work in their own communities setting up legislative visits and getting the word out to our state representatives that the death penalty is a broken system and a failed public policy!

Now when I go and talk to those legislators, they may or may not listen. But they will absolutely listen to their constituents, since you are the ones that give them their jobs. So give us a call in the office and offer to serve on the legislative committee. We need legislators' constituents making contact with them where they live, and the staff simply can't do that; only you can.
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