(But don’t comment to “ColoradoPols bloggers!” – promoted by Colorado Pols)
Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler said last month that he thinks “a lot of the mainstream media” get upset when Republicans “make waves,” but these hostile feelings toward the media didn’t stop him Monday from suggesting people can influence newspaper editors by writing letters to the editor and online comments.
“So, sign up for our e-newsletters, sign up for our notifications, write an email, write an email to us so you know what’s going on,” he said. “Come to our rulemaking hearings. Once every two months, write a letter-to-the-editor. Twenty minutes a week, do a blog. I won’t ask anyone to contribute money to a campaign. And serve as an election judge. Those are the things you can do. [BigMedia emphasis]
“When they write a story, and they see a large number of comments one way or the other, that means something,” said Gessler. “We do a terrible job on our ideological side of the fence. We do a terrible job of this.“[BigMedia emphasis]
Gessler’s comments came in response to a question from the audience at his lecture Monday evening at Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute.
The unidentified questioner asked speakers Gessler and Colorado State Treasurer Walker Stapleton what ordinary citizens can do.
In addition to writing letters-to-the-editor and blogging, Gessler suggested people volunteer as election judges, sign up to receive e-mails from his office, and attend rulemaking hearings or submit comments on proposed rules.
Gessler said testifying during the rulemaking process is important but did not have an impact in the recent challenge of his rule to increase the amount of money a group of people can raise for an political issue before their group is subject to campaign finance laws.
“Now, this particular court [in the issue-committee-threshold case] didn’t read any of that [citizen testimony], so he [the judge] wasn’t quite prepared, which he admitted, which is unfortunate, but I’m sure the Court of Appeals will be far more prepared than he was, and those comments are just critical for helping me out,” said Gessler.
Here’s an excerpt of Gessler’s comments on this topic:
Look, if you can spend time, two or three hours, once every two months, to write a letter-to-the editor, that makes a difference. Writing a letter-to-the-editor once every two months really makes a difference. It only takes three or four hours, about as much time as you’ll spend driving here, listening, and driving home. That makes a difference.
It doesn’t just have to be The Denver Post.; particularly local papers as well helps. When you see something in a local paper online, I’m assuming most people go online., instead of merely raging at the machine, I love raging at the machine, don’t get me wrong, instead of merely raging at the machine, write a post to that story. Because let me tell you something, newspaper editors pay attention to that stuff. And actually a lot of readers pay attention to that stuff too. When they write a story and they see a large number of comments one way or the other, that means something. We do a terrible job on our ideological side of the fence. We do a terrible job of this. I’ll go online, and my wife is watching, and she’ll say, ‘Don’t read those. Don’t read ‘em.’ And I’ll read them nonetheless. And look, people on our side don’t take the time to do that. You don’t have to put your name. You can be anonymous. You have sign up and register with your real name, but it can be absolutely anonymous. I would challenge everyone to do this, 20 minutes, once a week. That’s what I would challenge you to do for 20 minutes, maybe 30 minutes once a week.
The other thing is, come to my website…and sign up for our e-newsletters….
So my office engages in rulemaking a lot. I just said, I’m re-doing all the campaign finance rules to make them clear. Okay. What helps me a lot, is when you come in to my office during rulemaking. You can come in person, is the best and testify. You can write us an email and that becomes part of our record. You can write us a regular letter and that becomes part of our record. The reason this is so important is, if I say, for example, I want to raise the threshold, and I did this. I held a rulemaking hearing, saying I want to raise the threshold to $5,000. Well, what happened is people came in, and I see Matt Arnold with his hand up the entire time, and he’s one of the people who came in. I’m teasing Matt. And he said look, and other people did, this is why it’s so hard, this is the burden we face. And when I get that evidence and testimony, and I can take that evidence and testimony and use it in court to defend myself. So if you can bring your personal experiences in, that’s just so critical. Now, this particular court didn’t read any of that, so he wasn’t quite prepared, which he admitted, which is unfortunate, but I’m sure the Court of Appeals will be far more prepared than he was, and those comments are just critical for helping me out.
So, sign up for our e-newsletters, sign up for our notifications, write an email, write an email to us so you know what’s going on. Come to our rulemaking hearings. Once every two months, write a letter-to-the-editor. Twenty minutes a week, do a blog. I won’t ask anyone to contribute money to a campaign. And serve as an election judge. Those are the things you can do.
And let me tell you. If everyone in this room did those things on a consistent basis, it would make a huge impact here in the state of Colorado. It would have an impact people rarely ever see. Just the people in this room, if everyone did that on a consistent basis.