Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Newsletter I Would Like to See in my Mailbox

There has been a lot of talk recently about political newsletters, especially one that recently landed in many mailboxes, including my own. I have long hated these mailers, both for their total disregard for the environmental waste they represent (all that paper, 95% of which goes straight to recycling and the remaining 5% being used to light bonfires), and for their content. Why do I hate the content? Because it isn't what I want to read.

Last night I had a talk with the Intrepid Junior Blogger about these newsletters. If I hate them she hates them even more, as she has a passion for the environment, and on occasion when she hears my printer going will ask if I am killing another tree. What she and I talked about last night, though, was what these newsletters should contain, and why. And while I won't speak about the issues I have with them, including the most recent, I will share what I would like to read from a politician. And you can call me naïve, but maybe, just maybe, some day some politician will see the light and actually send a newsletter that isn't about them - and instead about their constituents. And, maybe, just maybe, they will send it by email, and save some trees. This is the newsletter that would capture my attention - and my vote. I never ask for Christmas gifts - but in my opinion this would be one helluva great gift to find in my (email) inbox.

Dear constituent,

The time has come when I check in with you, the people who elected me to office. Now, this is the point where you are probably expecting me to talk about government programs, and how busy I am representing you, and all the great things I have done since you elected me - but I'm not going to do that, because it's not all about me. Instead I want to talk about you, the people who make up the communities I am so proud to represent - because it is all about you.

This past year you have once again done some amazing things in our community. You have helped the United Way to not only meet but surpass their fundraising goal, almost certainly guaranteeing us the spot as top philanthropists in the country on a per capita basis. You did that, and you should be proud.

You supported so many non-profit initiatives, raising money and food for the food bank, and for homeless shelter programs. You adopted animals from the SPCA, and you attended events to raise funds for them. You spent time volunteering at local fundraising events, and you supported so many amazing causes. You did that.

This past year you contributed to your community in so many ways. You went to work every day, or stayed home raising the children who are our future. You are the ones who are building our community, and the ones who are fuelling the economic engine of this country with your hard work and efforts - and I know you work hard and yet you still find time to serve on parent councils, take your kids to play on local minor sport teams, and support small local businesses.

You voted. That may seem a small act, but in reality it is huge, because you helped to direct the future of  your community. That simple act of going to the ballot box is in fact one of the most powerful things you can do, and it is worth celebrating.

You got involved in your community through various organizations and sports. You talked to people about issues and causes, and you took a stand on the things you are passionate about. That is what community is, in the end - getting involved and getting out there to make a difference.

We lost some good people this last year. Some I knew and some I didn't, but if the loss affected your family then it affected all of us, because a community is really just an extended family in some ways. If you experienced one of these losses please accept my sincere condolences - when we lose a community member we have all lost a piece of the fabric that made us who we are, and that should be acknowledged.

This newsletter might come from my office, but it isn't about me, or what I have done for you, or what I have accomplished. It is about you, what you have done, and what you have accomplished. Every day I have the genuine pleasure of going to work to represent you and knowing that behind me I have thousands of people who are working to make their community a better place. I have the best and easiest job in the world, which is sharing what  you have done with my colleagues while trying to help you achieve the things you want and need.

I am including some links below about government programs and services that might help you in accomplishing your goals, and I would encourage you to contact me - through email, visiting my office, or by telephone - so we can talk about how we can make our community a better place together. Thank you for giving me your vote of confidence, and allowing me to represent you and your family. It is a job I don't take lightly, because I know that you are relying on me, just as I rely on you. We are part of the same community, and so we all must do our jobs to make it the best place we can create - together. Thank you for all you do every day, and thank you for being part of our community.

Your humble servant,

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