Editor’s Note: The Lincoln Times-News recently invited Lincoln County’s elected officials and civic leaders to periodically submit guest columns to appear on our opinion page. We’ve offered them the opportunity to share, with our readers, their thoughts on a topic of their choosing.
When I was sworn in as a Member of the House of Representatives early last January, I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution while also faithfully discharging the duties of the office I was elected by you to serve. The first part of this oath is well known. However, the second part of this oath is equally as important. This is work done not just in Washington, but also back home in Lincoln County and across the 10th District. This is my work, with assistance from my able staff, to ensure the needs of each constituent are met. Today, I’d like to outline what we can do to help you and also solicit advice on how we could do it better.
Every day there are numerous bills and resolutions introduced before the House of Representatives. To date, there have been 5,010 introduced since the 113th Congress began on Jan. 3, 2013. These bills cover a wide-range of topics, encompassing everything from the budget for the entire federal government to naming a local Post Office.
Inevitably, some of these bills will impact you. You are likely to have questions, concerns, or opinions on them — and I want to know what those are. My Washington staff is dedicated to answering your questions about any or all of this legislation and making sure you know where I stand on the issue. Whether it is by email, phone call or a hand-written letter, I am committed to learning your opinions and making sure you hear mine. Just last year, my office responded to nearly 35,000 calls, emails or letters from constituents and we aim to continue those efforts this year. Regardless of whether or not you agree with my votes or political views, I will always be accountable and accessible to you.
Another great resource offered by my Washington office is assistance with planning a trip to our nation’s capital. Regardless of how you may feel about the state of politics in our country, Washington, D.C. remains a great, historic city to visit. Over the past year, my office has arranged tours of the numerous monuments and museums in D.C. for hundreds of 10th District families, school, church and civic groups. Whether you would like a tour of the U.S. Capitol led by a member of my staff or assistance with admission for a White House tour, I want to ensure you have a memorable trip to Washington.
The resources offered by my office are not limited to Washington. Every day my District staff assists constituents whenever they have an issue with the federal government. Last year my staff and I aided thousands of 10th District residents with a variety of issues related to our government. It can be anything from helping a veteran receive combat medals they earned but were never awarded, to aiding a retiree who missed a Social Security check, to something as simple as expediting replacement of a lost passport before a big trip.
Working out of offices across the 10th District in Black Mountain, Gastonia, and Hickory, my staff is available daily to be of service to you. While Lincoln County is not home to an office, my staff makes regular visits to the County for constituent office hours at the James Warren Citizens Center.
I am constantly working to be as accessible and open to my constituents as possible. To go along with that effort, this past September, I launched a new weekly email feature to keep subscribers updated on my work both in Washington and back home in Western North Carolina. This email goes out every Sunday afternoon and is only one email, once a week.
Please take a moment to visit my website, mchenry.house.gov, to learn more about the weekly email and what services I can provide. Also be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for daily updates on my work.
While I am continuously working to assist constituents, I realize I am far from perfect. Going forward, I want know what I can do better. Please share with me any thoughts about what I can do to better help you and better serve the community.
Serving Lincoln County and the 10th District is one of the greatest privileges I have experienced and I am thankful daily for this opportunity. God bless.
Patrick McHenry represents North Carolina’s 10th District in the United States House of Representatives.