by Ashley Athey
Members of the General Assembly, as elected officials representing their respective districts, often receive a number of phone calls, emails, and, at least pre-COVID, in-person requests, questions, comments, and more from their constituents. While office staff help field the initial calls and emails, sometimes constituent requests and questions require a little more research.
That’s where the Constituent Services Unit of the Legislative Council comes in. They assist members of the General Assembly by providing information to respond to constituent requests. The Constituent Services staff strive to provide quick responses that are short, accurate, objective, and understandable to the constituent. Either a member or the member’s legislative aide, intern, or volunteer may submit a request. Responses may come from the Legislative Council Staff or from an appropriate person in federal, state, or local government.
Constituent Services staff help with almost any type of constituent request, including requests related to:
- Current state law or legislation pending before the General Assembly;
- Operations and services of state government;
- Federal and local government activity/federal law;
- State issues, e.g., water, environment, tourism, the economy; and
- Legislative Council “products” — fiscal notes, economic forecasts, issue briefs.
The manner in which Constituent Services staff responds varies. They may:
- Navigate the constituent to the right person in a state agency who can address the constituent’s concern;
- Connect the constituent with the proper level of government to address the constituent’s concern;
- Provide information about current law, pending legislation, or state policies;
- Help someone better understand the law;
- Directly help resolve the problem (e.g., getting a tax refund or getting a driver’s license ); or
- Simply listen and acknowledge the concern.
There are, however, some requests that Constituent Services staff cannot assist with, such as requests for:
- Voting, attendance, and financial records;
- Partisan research;
- Press releases;
- Legal opinions;
- Opinion/position papers; or
- District surveys.
Only members of the General Assembly or a member’s legislative staff may submit a constituent request to Constituent Services. A request may be initiated by telephone, fax, email, in writing, or in person.
Ryan Dudley and Annie Kitch are the day-to-day service providers. Ryan can be reached at 303-866-3687 or by email. Annie can be reached at 303-866-2876 or by email. Elizabeth Haskell is the Manager of Constituent Services and can be reached at 303-866-6264 or by email. Requests may be submitted to the constituent services staff through email, by phone call, or in person at the Resource Center located at the foot of the main stairs on the ground floor of the State Capitol.