Here’s How to Tell Your Texas Lawmakers What You Want Them to Do

"Dear Watchdog: You are a writer, a reporter, a wordsmith. My suggestion is for you to draft a letter the posse members can send. Sincerely, Wayne Whitman of Hurst"Mr. Whitman, your suggestion could not have come at a better time. Friday was the deadline to introduce bills at the Texas Legislature. Now that we know what cards are on the table, the posse can figure out what hands to play.The posse are readers of this column, plus people in the DallasNews Watchdog Posse group on Facebook, and those who receive a periodic "action newsletter" from me. (Write to to join.)We are several thousand Texans who want to fix the unfair property tax system, punish deceptive electricity companies, get protections from crooked roofers, and in our newest cause, enact a strong data security law to protect Texans' privacy from data miners.The Watchdog has tips on how to write to lawmakers now if you want to get involved. But a couple of quick stories.Story #1. It's 1996. Several hundred community members are on buses taking us to Austin to a meeting of the Texas Transportation Commission. We want money to expand Texas 114 from Grapevine to soon-to-open Texas Motor Speedway.We wear nerdy ballcaps that say "114." We present a petition with 20,000 signatures.But then one of our leaders presents a cache of children's crayon drawings that depict the hazards of the roadway. One showed a mother who was killed in a roadway accident."This is a first," a commissioner said.The money came through. Hundreds of millions of dollars. You can drive on the results.Moral: A letter is not the only way to convince leaders to help. An emotional appeal that tugs at heart strings can get the job done. Sometimes crayons do the trick.Story #2: A state senator recently asked me to meet him for coffee to discuss electricity companies. One thing he said: "I don't get any mail on this from people."Hmmm. You want mail?Posse! Ten-hut!  Continue reading...

Copyright The Dallas Morning News
Contact Us