A growing number of members of the Alaska Legislature are unhappy with shortened 90-day sessions, as reported in a recent Juneau Empire article (Legislators document their unhappiness with 90-day sessions). This showcases a good first step in listening to internal and constituent concerns and developing a plan to potentially reverse that decision.
However, such a reversal would require some time to be effective. Legislators must realize that during that time, grumbling about having little time to address important issues will not sit well with voters.
Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of the shortened session, legislators can use this period to adopt a series of actions that show that they are caring and proactive. They can open their offices, even during times when legislative sessions are closed, and promote and publicize their availability while actively seeking input from their constituents.
They also can explore issues and develop solutions to problems that they may expect to address during upcoming sessions.
Gathering information and opinions, as well as preparing beforehand for various eventualities and scenarios, are ways in which legislators may seize and utilize time to the benefit of themselves and their constituencies. Such action is the mark of a truly responsive government and shows real commitment to constituent service and care.
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