NMA Reboot: How to Raise Motorists’ Issues With Your Elected Representatives

Every once in a while, the NMA likes to reboot a newsletter that still has some relevant news, an update on legislation or motorist advice.  E-Newsletter #298 gives some advice on how to raise motorists’ issues with your elected representatives. If you would like to receive our weekly email newsletter, register with your email address by clicking here.

NMA E-Newsletter #298: Time to Raise Motorists’ Issues with Elected Officials

From September 28, 2014

For better or worse, election season is upon us. That means it’s the perfect time to find out where your elected officials stand on a variety of motorists’ rights issues.

Your local, state and federal representatives all have an obligation to respond to any reasonable question you pose. Pick the issues important to you and then ask the appropriate elected officials where they stand. From a motorists perspective you might ask these kinds of questions:

Local Officials

  • What is your position on raising the speed limit on XYZ Boulevard to XX mph?
  • Do you support placing red-light or speed-cameras in our community?
  • What is your opinion on police roadblocks?
  • What is your position on local police using automated license plate readers?

State Officials

  • What is your position on raising the maximum state speed limit to XX mph?
  • Would you support legalizing/outlawing red-light or speed cameras?
  • What is your position on turning existing interstate highways into toll roads?
  • Would you support a plan to tax motorists based on the miles they travel?
  • Would you support legislation prohibiting the use of police ticket quotas including for performance evaluations?

National Officials

  • What is your position on turning existing interstate highways into toll roads?
  • Would you vote to increase the gas tax if the money were devoted solely to building and maintaining highways?
  • Would you support a plan to tax motorists based on the miles they travel?
  • Would you support federal privacy protections for data captured by automated license plate readers?

These are just a few examples. Come up with your own questions based on what’s going on in your community and your personal interests.  Approach your representatives in a polite, neutral, non-leading way. You want the closest thing you can get to an honest answer—not the answer they think you want to hear—and you don’t want to come off as confrontational.

Ask the same questions of all candidates for the same office. If you don’t receive a response, the recipient may be trying to leave you in the dark hoping you may still vote for him or her if the other candidates don’t respond in the way you prefer. Think carefully before voting for a candidate who employs this tactic.

The issues that concern us, as motorists, are often considered to be “too minor” to publicly debate or to offer a set of positions. A thoughtful email or even a letter sent through the U.S. Postal Service is a good way to get the answers you seek. A letter may be the most effective since it will stand out among the constant stream of digital data everyone is barraged with these days.

Don’t be surprised if candidates don’t have a strong opinion on the issue you raise. They simply may not have thought about it or may not be well enough informed about it. Take the opportunity to educate them about the issue and the impact it has on you and on other motorists.

If reaching out to your representatives seems like a daunting task, the NMA has published a number of “how to” newsletters over the years linked below. Also review the “Issues” pages at www.motorists.org for the facts and figures you’ll need to make your case.

http://alerts.motorists.org/nma-e-newsletter-201-the-latest-old-fashioned/

http://alerts.motorists.org/nma-e-newsletter-238-an-easy-way-to-speak-up/

http://alerts.motorists.org/nma-e-newsletter-215-connecting-with-lawmaker/

http://alerts.motorists.org/nma-e-newsletter-111-communicating-with-congr/

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