Doolittle: A new course for a new term | SierraSun.com

Doolittle: A new course for a new term

John T. Doolittle

Most Americans look forward to the coming of a new year because of the opportunity it provides for reflection and the potential it holds to resolve to do something differently than before.

Like a new year, an election holds the same value and can serve as an important benchmark for measuring where you are and, more importantly, where you need to go.

In that spirit, I have spent a considerable amount of time over the past two months reflecting on the results of the last election and what they mean for me and my representation of the people of this district.

A good friend once told me that in order for things to stay the same, you must constantly be changing. After winning my election with less than 50 percent of the vote, I recognize that change is needed in order for me to rebuild the trust and support of my constituents.

As such, I am charting a new course in this new term ” a course with a commitment to district service that will emphasize accessibility, accountability and openness. Since every journey starts with a first step, I wanted to share with my constituents the “first ten steps” of this new course and invite them to work with me as I commence a new term in office. During this next term, I pledge to:

1) Return home to the district as frequently as possible ” While the new Democrat-controlled Congress has allowed fewer days for members of Congress to work in their districts, I will be returning home as much as possible to meet with my constituents, reach out to community leaders, attend local events and solicit input.

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2) Hold listening sessions throughout the district ” Starting next month, I will hold town-hall type listening sessions from Orangevale to Alturas that will allow all of my constituents to meet me and share their thoughts on what the priorities should be in Washington and how I can best represent them.

3) Hire an outside fundraiser for my campaign ” Because I believe it is proper for my wife to raise funds for my campaign, I encouraged her to step in at a critical time when her talents were desperately needed. I have appreciated her willingness to take time away from her other clients to provide a professional service to my campaign. However, because I recognize that this issue has been a concern and distraction to some of my constituents, I have retained an outside fundraiser to take over those duties.

4) Establish satellite offices throughout the district ” In order for all of my constituents to have access to my office, I will establish several satellite locations throughout the district where my staff and I can meet with my constituents on a regularly scheduled and more frequent basis.

5) Establish a neighborhood contact program ” Starting this month, my staff and I will be going door-to-door to meet with my constituents and solicit their input on important issues facing our country. Those who live in more rural areas will be contacted by phone or invited to participate in tele-town hall meetings which I will host on a regular basis.

6) Be more accessible to the media ” I will meet quarterly with the editorial boards of the newspapers in my district to answer their questions and keep them updated on what I am doing as their representative. I will also hold a conference call with the media every week Congress is in session to personally answer any questions they may have.

7) Post my schedule on my Web site ” Starting this month, my schedule while I am in Washington and California will be posted on my Web site so my constituents will know with whom I am meeting and how I am spending my time as their representative.

8) Establish advisory committees made up of my constituents ” Understanding that

I can learn a lot from the experiences of those I represent, I will establish several advisory committees made up of veterans, seniors, small business owners, law enforcement officials and others to advise me on legislation that comes before me.

9) Work with all of my constituents to help provide what’s best for the district ” I pledge to make a concerted effort to reach out to all of my constituents whether they are Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal or a supporter or an opponent to seek common ground. In that spirit, I recently invited Charlie Brown and Mike Holmes to be members of my veterans advisory committee. I am confident that their insights will be of value in my representation of veterans in this district.

10) Work across the aisle in Washington to help provide what’s best for our country and region ” Because partisanship too often gets in the way of progress, I will be seeking ways to build relationships with my Democrat colleagues. Specifically, I look forward to working closely with Congresswoman Matsui to help provide Sacramento with the flood protection it needs and my district with a new, reliable source of water.

Representing this district is an honor and responsibility I take very seriously, and I hope these initiatives are a clear indication of such. I look forward to working with all of my constituents over the next two years to chart this new course and invite their comments, suggestions and counsel along the way.