Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Letter to Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan (Updated)

The following is a letter I wrote to Senators Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan, my senators from North Dakota:

I urge you, Senator, to vote against the stimulus package now being considered in the Senate. If approved this money will add to our already huge debt, a debt that will linger long past our lifetimes. This means future generations will bear the burden of our collective decision. This stimulus package is laden with "pork" which will do little or nothing to provide lasting stimulus to the economy.

More troubling is the lack of accountability in how the money is spent, both to Congress and to the American people as a whole. It has been widely reported that the banks which benefited from the earlier stimulus package have refused to account for how the money was spent. It is also widely reported that little of it has been used to increase lending, the purported purpose of the stimulus.

As a citizen, I could not go to a bank and get a car loan then use that money for whatever purpose I desire. Furthermore, I couldn't refuse to disclose where the money had gone. But this seems to be common practice when handing out federal taxpayer money to private entities. It must not be allowed to continue.

I realize that you pride yourself in "bringing home the bacon" in regard to federal money to the state of North Dakota. But in this case, I believe it is not worth the price we will ultimately pay. Please vote to put an end to wasteful spending.

Thank you,

Jay Winkis
Fargo, ND

If you want your senators to hear you, it's not too late to register your opinion. The senate is expected to start debating the stimulus package this week.

Update: I got a response from Byron Dorgan's office. While I have no doubt it was written by one of his staff, it is an actual response and not a form letter, which is more than I expected. Below are snapshots of the letter. (Click on the image to enlarge.)

I appreciate getting a response from Senator Dorgan's office.

(originally posted on 2/2/09 at 8:01 am)


  1. I have a small stack of letters from the three stooges and after awhile just gave up. Most of the letters were 'canned' except a couple. A bunch of us from a 2nd Amend website sent tea bags with a form letter stating it was time for "present time tea party." The letter I got back wasn't very friendly.

  2. I fully expected the same type of letter a friend sent to Senator Amy Klobuchar in Minneosota; a canned letter of the "thank you for writing... listening to constituents is my most important job" type that made no mention of the subject in the original letter.

    So I was actually pleasantly surprised at the response. I don't think it affected Senator Dorgan's vote one bit, but someone in his office actually took the time to read my letter and craft a response.

    Ultimately, I think a single person writing a letter is ineffectual. Only large campaigns by hundreds (if not thousands) of people writing might make a difference, especially if the media picks it up.