A couple of years ago, my sister’s husband decided to divorce her while they were living in Germany, where he was stationed with the Army. It was another one of those cases of “finding someone from high school on Facebook, ‘falling in love’ and divorcing your current partner.” Because of the divorce, my sister was being sent back Stateside, as would be expected. But after a couple of months, with all the paperwork submitted, the Command at Stuttgart had yet to acquire her a ticket back to the States. The process of sending a spouse home prior to the servicemember being reassigned to the States is a rather common occurrence (not merely due to divorce). Yet the Command was taking its sweet time. After waiting so long (living with the man who was divorcing her), I urged her to contact her U.S. Senators and Representative.
She called from Germany and got nowhere. So I followed up with phone calls to Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn’s offices and with my sister’s U.S. Rep. John Carter. None of their staff had any idea what I was talking about, wanted to take the time to understand the situation, were rude and failed to perform any kind of follow-up. (This being quite sad if you look at the committees on which some of the above members of Congress sit.)
Exasperated, I called my own representative, Rep. Lloyd Doggett.
Even though my sister did not live in his district (Rep. John Carter is her representative, as noted above), Rep. Doggett’s office immediately took action, contacting the Command at Stuttgart, keeping us up-to-date on developments and ensuring everything went smoothly. My sister was home by the holidays.
Earlier, my friend – a soldier at Fort Hood – asked my advice on getting the Army to compensate him for back-pay they owed. He, too, went to Rep. Doggett’s office for help. Though many months passed and much work was required, my friend finally received the money due him.
And even earlier than that, my wife – before we met – required Rep. Doggett’s office’s help in renewing her passport when the State Department held it up without explanation (even the documents regarding it were redacted when it came to the reason they were holding it). Rep. Doggett’s staff notified her, after speaking with the passport folks, that her passport was on its way the next day.
So, aside from being a progressive Democrat (and I’ve had my differences with him over the years), I endorse him because his office is so responsive to his constituents’ and Texans’ needs – whether they voted for him or not and, as in our case, whether or not they live in his district. A strong leader makes for a motivated, kind and effective staff. Furthermore, he takes that leadership to the U.S. House floor.
While I may no longer live in his district due to redistricting, I urge all those remaining or joining the district he represents vote to re-elect him on Tuesday and in the general election.