Frank Bernheisel: The View From Here
Frank Bernheisel
Frank Bernheisel
Posted 04.26.16
Just Outside Washington


Being part of The Process

After a search on the Senate website, I found no phone number for the Majority Leader of the Senate. So, I tried to call Senator Mitch McConnell at his office in the Russell Senate Office Building; his number is 202-224-2541. I got a robo-answer saying that his office was experiencing a large number of calls and please send an e-mail.

I then called his office in Louisville, KY, phone number, 502-582-6304. I got a live person to answer. He wanted to know my name and where I was calling from; I told him. I also told him that the Senator had said he wanted the American people to have their say about the next Supreme Court nominee. And I was calling to do just that; have my say, which was that the Senate should do its job; i.e. advise and consent on the nomination of Justice Merrick Garland.

In addition, I told the young man that Senator McConnell, as leader of the entire Senate, was a representative of the country and not just Kentucky. He was very polite and assured me that my comments would be passed on to the Senator.

I then called the Senate Judiciary Committee, phone number 202-224-5225. The phone was answered on the second ring by a pleasant young man. He did not ask where I was from or who I was. My message to him was the same as I had given to Senator McConnell's office. Again, I was assured that the message would be passed on.

My experience, based on many years living in Washington, is that the office phones of our elected representatives are staffed by interns. Their instructions are to be polite and listen to the callers concerns.

If it is a call for some form of constituent service, which will be transferred or handled by a return call later (services include getting an American flag that has flown over the Capitol on you birthday or address some more serious request).

A call like mine will be tallied -- pro or con -- on the issue and on any other pertinent data, like I was not a Kentucky resident.