Editorial: Vent here, vent there
To read or watch the news (and commentary) you might be convinced the world, the nation, Virginia or even Gloucester or Mathews is disintegrating. Citizens seem quite discontent. What can they do?
First, they ought to vote.
Then, they need to make their feelings known.
Many of our readers vent their frustrations right here, in our Readers Write column. We have lively debates going on and only ask that our writers keep their opinions as brief as possible, refrain from personal attacks, and resist temptation to bombard us every week with the same theme. We prefer local, and we like a diverse range of opinions and writers.
And to vent where it counts, citizens really need to tell their elected and appointed leaders how they feel. In previous weeks, we have given contact information for members of the General Assembly, Gloucester supervisors and school board members, and the same in Mathews.
Here are more valves through which you can vent your steam, and the preferred contacts for these officials.
Let’s start at the top: The easiest way to contact President Obama and Vice President Biden is online. Visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact and submit your questions and comments. If you feel like putting pen to paper, you can send a letter to The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20500. Or you can call in your comments to 202-456-1111.
Many issues in the Hampton Roads area revolve around the military. If you have a comment, suggestion or question regarding the Armed Forces, they can be addressed to: Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defense, 1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, D.C. 20301-1000. More contact information can also be found at http://www.defense.gov.
For those with concerns about U.S.-foreign relations, contact Secretary of State John F. Kerry at http://www.state.gov, or send a letter to U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20520.
Information about the Middle Peninsula’s Congressional delegation (Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and Rep. Rob Wittman) is, likewise, also available online. The best site for finding that information out is http://www.usa.gov/Contact/US-Congress.shtml.
If your concerns are about Virginia, contact Gov. Terry McAuliffe at 1111 East Broad Street, Richmond, Va. 23219. Online contact forms can also be found at governor.virginia.gov.
For those who don’t think your elected officials are listening, one need look no further than our own letters column. Last month, Richard D. Hill of Grimstead wrote about his concerns over what he perceived as a large number of suspended sentences being handed out in the local courts. In the following weeks, we received lengthy replies from the commonwealth’s attorneys of Gloucester and Mathews addressing his comments.
Our elected officials rely on your input to guide their decisions. If you feel passionately about a given issue, be sure to let them know how you feel. It just may make a difference.