Saturday, April 19, 2014

Pathetic Form Letter From The Governor

My youngest son, Max, is interested in politics and history and wrote a letter to Governor Kitzhaber.

Dear John Kitzhaber
My name is Max, I live in Philomath, Oregon. I am 9 years old. And I want to know what it is like being a governor. Have you ever met Obama? Are you rich? Have you ever been in a limousine? Was it tough in the election? Have you ever been a mayor? For me it is really confusing for me  and I want to learn it from a governor because they know what to do and know a lot of things from the government. Someday I want to meet you and shake your hand and maybe even take a picture.
Max Carter
We expected a form letter in return as we doubted the Governor would actually read Max’s letter. What we got was as pathetic an example of a form letter as I have seen from a public official.


April 14, 2014
Max Carter
25360 Oak Lane
Philomath, OR 97370
Dear Max,
Thank you for your interest in the state of Oregon.
First of all, I would like to personally thank you for your interest regarding the great state that I serve, Oregon. Holding the position of Governor gives me many responsibilities to the people who elected me. This, position affords me a few privileges, my favorite one of which is being able to wield the power of my office in a way that positively influences Oregon’s future.
Between you and me when I am not governing, I visit Oregon’s various bodies of water because I am an avid fisherman and whitewater rafter. My plans for the summer are to spend as much time with my family as possible and to continue supporting the state of Oregon however I can.
The State of Oregon flag is very unique because it is the only State flag that has a different image on each side. On one side is the state shield and the founding date, 1859, while the reverse side has the state animal, the beaver.
Oregon is famous for having the deepest lake in the United States and the 9th deepest lake in the world, Crater Lake. Stretching 1,943 feet deep, Crater Lake is the oldest National Park in the United States, and the only National Park in the State of Oregon. We are also famous for having the smallest park in the world; Mill Ends Park in Downtown Portland is 452 square inches.
More interesting facts about Oregon include:
• State Bird: Western Meadowlark
• State Fruit: Pear
• State Drink: Milk
• State Tree: Douglas Fir
• State Dance: Square Dancing
I hope this information helps describe our beautiful State of Oregon. I have also included my favorite recipe. Good luck on your school project. Again, thank you for contacting me.

So the main problem is that it’s pretending to be a personal letter from the Governor. Max saw through that after reading halfway through and exclaimed that it was BS. It addressed none of his questions, answered others that were not asked, used the phrase “Between you and me” when it was not between the Governor and Max but a phrase written to every single child who mails a letter to the Governor. There was no favorite recipe enclosed, which was both insulting and weird in its promised inclusion. And of course it wasn’t a school project, but something my kid did on his own. 

The Governor isn’t Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, He’s a real person who could have his office send a form letter stating that he’s too busy governing the state to reply to every letter, but here are some of his favorite facts about the state. I sense that nobody actually even scanned the letter (I enclosed the original and a transcription) to see what it contained. Perhaps the Governor’s office is understaffed, or perhaps they just don’t care about children who express an interest in politics.

This letter and whatever procedure they follow in replying to letters in the Governors office is broken, amateurish, and introduces a distrust and dislike of government when an opportunity was given to introduce civic pride and a sense of participation. I expected better of Oregon, which is known for politicians who seem to be engaged with their constituents.

I’ll see if my state representatives can pass along my displeasure, but I’m not counting on anything changing. Several friends of mine think I’m making a big deal out of this for no reason, and I understand that if you are cynical, you wouldn’t expect anything more than this token of correspondence. But I live in Oregon and I expect better as I’m not cynical about our local government. Or at least I wasn’t.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with your're making too much of this. Lighten up.