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Weekly Updates

Wittman’s Weekly: Constituent Services in 2020

As we look back on 2020, I think we can all agree that it has been one of the most trying, monumental, and unprecedented years that most of us have lived through. Throughout this year, we have faced many hardships and adversities, yet we have gotten through them together. While we are still on a long road to recovery, there is hope. The hope of a vaccine, the hope of economic recovery, and the hope of a new year.

Even through the pandemic, my number one priority has continued to be listening to the people I represent and using their thoughts, concerns, and insights to better represent my constituents in Washington and to help you through these difficult times. I am so grateful for my staff as they, too, are public servants dedicated to constituent service. We have a one-stop-shop mentality in our office, and we work tirelessly to ensure that constituents contacting our office get the best service possible. 

I want to take a moment to highlight the outreach and service my office undertook this year. If you or your loved ones need assistance through these difficult times, please do not hesitate to reach out, click here now.

Service by the Numbers

Since January 1, 2020, my office has had 7,909,813 constituent contacts with folks in the First District through opened emails, phone calls, letters, or social media post interactions and messages. Through proactive emailer items alone, my office has reached more than 300,000 constituents during the pandemic with 564 individual email updates sent directly to their inboxes.

In that same period, my office has helped 1,115 constituents with casework issues. These are cases that have been formally opened with the office and that number does not include quick-turnaround casework assistance. Constituent casework is assistance provided to individuals to help them with requests to federal agencies, like getting the Veterans benefits they deserve, helping people receive their Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or resolving issues with their social security payments, and to act as an ombudsman between constituents and state agencies.

In that same period, my office sent out more than 54,000 responses to constituent inquiries and inbound office contacts via email, letter, social media, or phone call. For reference, during that same period in 2019, our office sent roughly 36,000 outbound responses. 

This year, I was honored to fly 168 flags over the United States Capitol Building for constituents of the First District. You, too, can request to have a flag flown over the Capitol for a nominal cost. Click here to learn more about this great service my office provides!

Also since the start of this year, I have safely visited more than 100 locations across Virginia’s First District, at all times during the pandemic following the latest CDC and VDH guidance and regulations, to meet with area constituents, local officials, and community leaders. I have also attended or hosted more than 50 virtual calls, webinars, telephone town halls, updates, and Zoom calls with people and organizations across Virginia’s First Congressional District.

Our work has not gone unnoticed either. I was named a finalist for the prestigious Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) Democracy Award in the category of Constituent Service earlier this year. The Constituent Service category nominations recognize offices for their outstanding practices or achievements acting as ombudsmen with the federal government or responding to constituent requests and inquiries. I was also named the winner in the category of Exemplary Public Service for the first-ever CMF Democracy Awards in 2018.

My Bipartisan Work for You

In addition to my work for individuals throughout the pandemic, I also want to highlight my bipartisan work for you throughout this Congress.

So far this Congress, I personally introduced 26 bills before the House and I have introduced or signed onto a total of 289 pieces of legislation ranging from sound environmental policy, strong national defense bills, commonsense transportation solutions, bills aimed to close the digital divide, measures to protect seniors, veterans, students, and teachers, and much more. From rebuilding our Navy, to increasing access to broadband, to making sure our children have a 21st-century education, I am constantly working for the First District.

The only way we get things done in Washington is by working together to achieve real results for the American people. It is not through divisiveness, it is not through hollow rhetoric and unclear plans, but through coming together to find commonsense solutions to the everyday problems that face people in VA-01.

That is why I continue to work on a bipartisan basis to get things done. In fact, just this Congress, I have worked in a bipartisan manner to introduce legislation including:

In addition, this Congress I have so far been an original cosponsor on 38 bipartisan bills introduced by my colleagues across the aisle: 

While I know we may not always agree, it’s critically important that we work together for the common good. I believe that the best ideas don’t come from Washington but from people like you. And in today’s hyper-connected world, it is important to hear from all sides, rather than remain trapped in an echo-chamber. One of the roles I take most seriously as your member of Congress is to hear, not just from folks who agree with me, but from all people I serve in the People’s House. 

As we move into 2021 and the 117th Congress, I will not stop working with my colleagues to get real results for Virginia. I believe that we will come through these times stronger than ever as we work together to restore, rebuild, and renew our communities and nation. As Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, a senior member of the Natural Resources Committee, and Co-Chair of the House Rural Broadband Caucus, I will continue to work in a bipartisan manner to address the issues that matter most to you and implement real solutions.