Guest column

Here are a few tips for finding the truth and taking action

Posted

Over the last few weeks, I've received numerous questions about what's really happening in our government, and what can we do to get more involved. What's an executive order and how does it work? Where are the checks and balances, and how do they work or not work? What's all the fuss about Cabinet nominations? How do I get my voice heard with my elected officials? How do I find out the real truth behind "alternative facts," fake news, and social media opinions and find resources that are factual?

Because most of us haven't had any education about our government since high school civics class or have any experience within the government, these are really good questions that are now being asked by people in all walks of life. There is now cause (and for some, alarm) for all of us to be educated about how our government and political system work and how we can influence them, or even revolutionize them.

So since you've asked, I've decided to host a town hall to help answer your questions from an insider's perspective. It will be scheduled soon, but for now, here are a few tips and resources you can access right now:

  • Find your electeds: You have city, county, state and federal representatives who work for you. Know them. To find yours you can go to www.votesmart.org. It's not a perfect site, but you can find yours at all levels of government from entering in your 9-digit zip code.
  • Watch your electeds in action: Sign up for their email newsletter so you can see what they're working on and when they're hosting town halls. Not all officials have town halls or if so, not often, so you need to show up at those to give them your thoughts. (Remember to ensure them that you're a constituent, you're NOT being paid to be there, and you vote.)
  • See how your electeds vote: You can use www.smartvote.org for this, but there are also two other sites at the state level (where many of our pertinent laws are drafted) that can help you - http://leg.colorado.gov/ or a new site just recently launched: https://digitdemos.com.
  • Communicate with your electeds: Let them know how you feel about topics, issues, or bills moving through the process BEFORE they vote. Send them an email, call them, or tell them in person, if possible. But when you do, in the first line, remember to mention that you're a constituent so they'll pay more attention, hopefully. Hint: Honey works better than vinegar. Much of the time, the first people to hear or see those are volunteer or very low-paid interns, and they're just trying to do their job as best as they can, like you.
  • Biggest tip of the day: In order to influence effectively, you need to be educated before you can advocate. Take the time. Your health or life may depend on it.

Wish I had more space and you had more time, but for now, try some of these, and look for more tips next time on finding factual news. And look for my town hall and documentary coming soon!

Linda Newell is termed out as the state senator of Senate District 26 and is now educating people on how to understand and influence their government. Look for her upcoming documentary to be released soon. She may be reached at senlindanewell@gmail.com or senlindanewell.com or @sennewell on Twitter.

Linda Newell

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