Boilerplate Email

Boilerplate Email

by | Aug 17, 2022 | Why I'm Running

Nothing makes my blood boil more than a boilerplate email from my government representative. If I’m concerned enough about an issue to call or write them, I expect something more than a canned reply.

Don’t thank me for contacting you when you famously avoid contact with your constituents.

Don’t tell me you’ll keep my thoughts in mind when we both know you won’t.

Speaking of Chuck Fleischmann, it was a boilerplate email from him back in 2018 that nearly cost me a laptop. I’d contacted him about Trump’s family separation policy. You didn’t need to be a parent to appreciate its cruelty; we’ve all been little kids. I still remember the blind terror I felt at age 4, when I got separated from my mom for just a few minutes in a Florida grocery store.

If Chuck had sent me a letter piously explaining how deliberately terrorizing children (I’m paraphrasing) enhanced US border security, I could have torn it into tiny pieces and set it on fire. Unfortunately, there’s no satisfying digital equivalent. I had to fight the urge to hurl my MacBook against the wall.

Now that I’m running for office, I’ve thought a lot about how to avoid sending out boilerplate emails given the logistical realities of the job. Every constituent deserves a straightforward accounting of why their reps vote the way they do.

So I’ve decided to publicly score proposed state legislation by certain metrics:

Is it necessary?
Will it help people?
Is it grounded in facts?
Has it been properly vetted?
Does it avoid hurting people?
Is it economically responsible?
Is it environmentally responsible?
Are its solutions evidence-based?

Here’s what I won’t ask: Will it help me politically? If I cared about that, I wouldn’t be running for office as a Democrat in East Tennessee.