RESPONSE: Amodei is Accessible, Accountable (Opinion)

U.S. Congressman Mark Amodei.

Submitted by Shawn Meehan

Mr. Gibb’s August 19 letter (“August Recess: Where is Representative Amodei? (Opinion)” saying Congressman Amodei is being “evasive” reveals a sad state of affairs where ridicule, a lack of education, and cynicism thrive in the public square.

Shawn Meehan

Recent allocation data puts congressional district population at 747,000 people. Perhaps Rep. Amodei is genuinely busy? In early August I chatted with him at our Republican central committee meeting in Douglas County. Our leadership worked well in advance to coordinate his attendance, including announcing it in the paper and to other groups to fill the room as an efficient win/win for Rep. Amodei and constituents.

In the twelve years I have lived in Northern Nevada, I have never been unable to offer my input to any of my elected officials except Harry Reid. His staffer literally raised her voice over the phone and told me, “the Senator has made up his mind and doesn’t need your input.” Now that is evasive.

Mr. Gibb’s tone and content are suggestive of a perpetual complainer ignorant of the functioning of our republican form of government. He wrote he only reviewed Rep. Amodei’s legislative activities after failing to obtain a meeting. You got that backwards Mr. Gibb.

Legislative meetings often begin with constituents meeting staff to research and fully develop a topic to ensure a more productive meeting for legislator and constituent.

He stated several grievances, such as: homelessness, affordable housing, and tourism. None of these are enumerated powers of the Federal Government in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, so they shouldn’t be on Rep. Amodei’s radar, nor yours for a meeting with him. Your representatives in the Nevada Legislature or your county or city government are actually able to address the issues you cited.

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I’d expect a teacher to be more familiar with our Constitution. You hold a position of responsibility in society to develop engaged, informed citizens. You are not familiar how to interact professionally with a member of Congress, or our Constitution’s limits on federal power. That you offer an accusatory and cynical manner validates society’s concern for the future of our children.

I’ve spoken with Rep. Amodei a few times over the years. I once waited my turn for 90 minutes after an event to discuss an issue with him we disagreed on, and still disagree on. However, I can tell you he is a nice guy and isn’t afraid to sincerely discuss issues. Mark is anything but evasive.

Perhaps you should throttle back on the confrontational approach, learn about the Constitution, develop a concise thesis you wish to discuss, and try again? If staff are unable to accommodate you, honestly ask yourself why, and adapt your approach. Make it interesting. If they read your August 19th letter with its sarcasm and mockery, I wouldn’t expect a swift response. Good luck.


Shawn Meehan, Minden, Nevada, is a retired Air Force Master Sergeant that founded Guard The Constitution to teach the Constitution to elected officials and citizens and develop broad efforts to put it into practice.

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4 Comments

  1. Mr. Meehan:
    Thank you for sharing your opinion. When I saw the headline on your piece, I figured it must be meant as sarcasm. You once waited 90 minutes to speak to Mr. Amodei? I have called his office in Washington, D.C., nearly every day for what will soon be 2 1/2 years. That covers more than 600 phone calls. I’ve written to him hundreds more times.
    I have been persistent (“relentless” is the word used by one Reno staffer) and have never used profanity or been demanding. I often address staff members as “my friend.”
    I’ve never received an answer to any question I’ve asked through these channels. I have asked scores of times to speak to the congressman’s scheduler, Jessica Markowitz, so that I may set up a time to speak with him. She has never returned a call or replied to an email. Understand, she is not saying no to my requests. She does not even acknowledge their existence. I have asked his staff and his interns if they would please find out why this is. I did so again today. They refuse. They refuse to even say whether they will ask Ms. Markowitz and call me back with her explanation. It’s really quite amazing the moral gymnastics they attempt to perform.
    Mr. Amodei is accessible and accountable, you say.
    I have been hung up on hundreds of times, been put on hold for as long as 7 hours and 10 minutes and then hung up on. And this is not even close to the worst of the treatment I have received.
    I know the Constitution. I know Congress’s responsibilities under the Constitution. Under the Constitution’s system of checks and balances, the legislative branch is responsible for holding the executive branch accountable for misconduct.
    I ask Amodei to explain why he says and does nothing to hold the head of the executive branch accountable for misconduct at a scale never before seen in American history. I refer particularly to Mr. Trump having lied to the American people, fully documented, an average of nearly 13 times a day during his presidency. I have asked hundreds of times for him to please introduce a resolution of censure for this lying or explain to me why he won’t.
    The one time I got to speak to this “nice guy” was when I caught up to him during a break in a meeting of the Fernley Republican Women’s club on August 20. I expected him to at least pretend to be “nice” to me; most politicians endeavor to be liked. Despite his staff promising that they have been “passing along my comments” to him nearly every day for well over two years, he didn’t recognize my name.
    When I helped jog his memory, he soon became belligerent. He granted me one question. I asked about the censure resolution. He proceeded to lecture me sternly while waving a plastic fork in my face. I asked him to please not do that, and he reluctantly stopped; he switched to waving his finger in my face.
    Regarding censure, he said he didn’t do anything like that with “Obama” so he wasn’t going to do it with Trump, as if the frequency of lying were comparable between the two. He said he didn’t consider it to be his responsibility.
    So tell me again, who is it you’re saying doesn’t understand the Constitution?

  2. As usual, Shawn Meehan is spot on. Congressman Amodei is extremely accessible! Simply obtain his published activities and attend. Otherwise, follow Meehan’s suggestions and stop the whine!

  3. I talked to Congressman Amodei on two occasions and he was very pleasant and he displayed good humor. I will be meeting him again this coming Monday. I like him.

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