A Question: Contacting Someone Else’s State Senator?
Here’s a question for discussion: is it appropriate for a citizen in one state to write an e-mail/make a phone call/send a fax/etc. to an elected representative in another state in the hopes of influencing their vote in that state’s legislature?
The proximate cause for asking the question is Jim Hoft’s posting of contact information of Wisconsin State Senators and his request that his readers “PLEASE take a minute and drop them a note of support.” He also asked for a specific message be sent to one GOP member who appeared willing to entertain a compromise.
I must confess that my main reaction to this notion is that persons who are not part of the electoral constituency of a given elected official should refrain from trying to influence the actions of that official, especially in a case like Wisconsin, since most us don’t live and vote in Wisconsin.
This kind of thing usually emerges on national issues and there may be requests by activists that call specific members of Congress. This, too, strikes me as problematic if the specific member in question does not represent the caller/e-mailer (although at least in that case we are talking about the national legislature).