Alaska State Senator, Dennis Egan, has a long history of public service. Whether it’s his time as Juneau mayor, assembly member, planning commissioner, or member of the Juneau Chamber of Commerce, he has a dynamic history of involvement in his community. The Senator also lives with multiple sclerosis.
We asked Sen. Dennis Egan to share his thoughts on why connecting with his constituents are important – and how to make the most of a visit. Check out his responses below:
Greater Northwest Chapter: What makes an in-district with a legislator successful?
Senator Egan: Be prepared. It’s great to chat about our kids and hobbies, and we’ll want to get to know you a little bit. So that means you should be ready to deliver the critical parts of your message in less time than you have allotted for the meeting. Besides, if we meet for 20 minutes and you talk for all 20, I don’t have time to follow up on what you said and ask questions. Also, be sure to leave me a one-pager with the essential information on it. That way my staff and I can look it over at the end of the day, and I can jot follow-up instructions on it when I put it in the outbox.
When meeting in-district, where do you prefer to meet?
Senator Egan: I like to meet in my office, because my MS makes it a little tough to get around. Many of my colleagues would rather be out in the community any chance they get, so offer the choice of your office or a coffee shop when you’re setting up the meeting.
What are you curious to know from your constituents?
Senator Egan: What’s important to you? Why does it matter to the rest of the community as well? Who are your partners in what you’re working on? What exactly is it you want me to do? That sort of information lets me know whether you need funding, a letter, a phone call, or 20 hours per week of volunteering. And it lets me know why your issue is important to making people’s lives better, so I can prioritize it among all the other requests I get.
What are your thoughts on phone meetings with constituents – are they an effective tool?
Senator Egan: Here in Alaska, they’re a must. My Senate district is bigger than the State of New Hampshire, and it’s not even one of the big ones. Face-to-face is great, but if you’re my constituent, I want to hear from you. The phone works fine.
What are your goals for your summer visits?
Senator Egan: This is the time of year my office can research issues, bring people together to talk about solutions, and write bills for the next legislative session. The more I can work on stuff that matters to my constituents during the Interim, the better prepared I am for the coming legislative session.
Contact us if you are interested in connecting with your elected officials. We are here to support you with talking points and guidance so you can have the most effective visit possible.