Residents should talk to legislators more often

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 14, 2007

It appears that last week’s 60 percent pay hike for legislators has hit home with the people of Alabama.

According to the Associated Press, many legislators have been receiving calls and e-mails from constituents. Some have even stopped them at church to complain about the unrecorded voice vote last week giving lawmakers a 60-percent pay raise.

The receptionists at the Alabama House said they received at least 100 calls Friday and 50 or more Monday from Alabama residents wanting them to tell their legislators that they were unhappy about the pay raise vote.

Members of the Alabama House and Senate approved a resolution Thursday by unrecorded voice votes raising the annual compensation for lawmakers from $30,710 to $49,500. Gov. Bob Riley has said he plans to veto the pay raise, which would force lawmakers to take a recorded vote on overriding the governor’s veto. Riley said he expects to wait until March 20 before he vetoes the raise.

Legislators contacted Monday reported receiving at least a few phone calls over the weekend, and for legislators in southeast Alabama the calls came by the dozens after a Dothan talk radio host gave out legislators’ home phone numbers on the air.

Although it might not be a good move that the Legislature has passed this pay increase for themselves, it has done one good thing. It has motivated many residents of Alabama to voice their concerns about how they disliked their moves.

That is a good thing for the state because that’s the way our government is supposed to work. Our job as citizens of our country doesn’t end at the ballot box. It continues after the election by contacting our representatives to let them know what is on our minds. If they don’t ever hear from us, they will never know.

Many people wonder why they don’t ever see anything done in their district. That might be because we don’t ever let legislators know the things they need to be doing. If we don’t let our voices be heard, we will never see anything accomplished here at home.