Opinion

SOUND OFF Dec. 8, 2001, Congressman gets the job done

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Editor’s job security not dependent on readership approval!

By Charla Neuman

Washington, D.C. — Shocked and dismayed, Charla Neuman, Washington state native and Communications Director for a local Congressman, guffawed at a recent column written by prolific editor Jim Larsen, who is well known and respected — despite his cynicism.

“I always expect a good laugh when I read Larsen’s column,” said Neuman, “but he’s outdone himself with this one.”

Larsen (to his misfortune, no relation to the Congressman) recently wrote a column (Whidbey News-Times, Dec. 5) essentially criticizing elected officials for communicating with constituents. Good-willed Neuman felt obligated to set the clearly misguided Larsen on the right path.

“Rather than squander away money on office supplies, we have chosen to use office resources to communicate with constituents,” Neuman clarified. “People are busy going about their daily lives. It would be presumptuous to expect everyone to stop every time something gets done on behalf of constituents. Mail, a form of communication that dates back to 1775 when Benjamin Franklin was the first named Postmaster General, is a great way to touch base with constituents and remind folks that elected officials are here to be of service.”

Larsen mischievously fabricated sample accomplishments to prove a point. However, fabrications are unnecessary as Congressman Larsen’s record shows an unprecedented number of successes for Whidbey Island residents. For example, Larsen not only restored lost funds for Ebey’s Landing, but secured future funding as well. Due to Congressman Larsen’s efforts, NAS Whidbey will receive nearly $14 million for future improvements. Not stopping there, upon news that Island Transit was at risk of not receiving the necessary federal funds to maintain their public transit system, Congressman Larsen brought the issue to the attention of the U.S. Senate and saved the day. Consequently, Island Transit is slated to receive $632,000 next year.

While Neuman could go on and on, boasting of her boss’ numerous accomplishments, she has chosen to save them for the next mail piece.

Neuman, regarding editor Larsen, added in afterthought, “At least he makes me laugh.”

Charla R. Neuman is Communications Director for Congressman Rick Larsen, 2nd District, Washington state.

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