Emma here. I wanted to share with you an experience I had trying to contact a member of Congress. To give some background, the Save Oak Flat Act is currently sitting in the House Committee on Natural Resources, where it hasn’t moved in months. We need to see it have a hearing in order for it to move forward. In the past two months my mom and I have met many Americans who have shared their thoughts on Oak Flat with us. As we neared Ogden, Utah a few weeks back, we were excited because the chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, Rob Bishop, has his district in an area we walked through. We figured that meeting with a member of his staff would be a great way to relay America’s thoughts to him. After all, he is a representative serving the American people, right?
So, with all that in mind, I can tell you what happened. About a week before coming into Ogden I called Mr. Bishop’s office, and spoke with a friendly receptionist who told me she would pass along my info to “John”, who “deals with that kind of stuff” as she put it. When I asked where he was, she said he was on the road, and she didn’t know where he was or when he would be back.
I heard nothing from Mr. Bishop’s office for several days, so I called again, was again told that John was in some mystery location, and again passed along my information. By the time we had entered into Ogden I was feeling frustrated. I was really pleasantly surprised when John himself finally called me and we spoke for a few minutes. He was not familiar with Oak Flat and I told him we’d love to meet with him in person to tell him what the hundreds of Americans we have met thought. He was very friendly and assured my he’d call back within an hour.
An hour passed- and, you guessed it, no call. Then two hours, three, and soon we realized he would not be calling me that day. The following day I heard nothing. I then called and left a message on his cell phone that he had called me from before, but heard nothing. My mom even called and left a message. Through all this we were polite, to the point, and patient. Yet no one from Mr. Bishop’s office ever got back to me.
I can only guess that perhaps John looked up Oak Flat, realized Mr. Bishop didn’t care about it, and proceeded to ignore me. I know I am not a member of his district, but I am an American and this issue matters to me. In a democracy we are supposed to have the right to speak up for what we believe in, and Congress is supposed to listen. How they can do that when they refuse to even speak to us is beyond me.
I hope all of you have had better luck in talking with your representives. And Mr. Bishop, if you should read this, I would still love to speak with you.