Feedback, good, bad, always welcome

Many of you completed the survey that was sent to you and mailed it back. I have my staff separate out survey cards that are returned with comments written on them so I can read them.

This survey cycle, there were around 300 such cards, and I just finished reviewing them this week. It is always interesting to see what is on the minds of those you represent.

As a matter of explanation, to keep the cost of conducting the survey low, each legislator has the option of selecting a couple of items they are interested in hearing about, and the remaining five questions are generic and based on items of broad interest to try to get a wider view of how the voting public feels about things like budget surpluses, school funding or road funding challenges.

Given that, I always receive feedback that the survey is poorly constructed, vague or leading. The most common notation is that there simply isn’t enough information to accurately answer. Due to that fact, many note a desire for an undecided choice, as they just don’t feel they can answer with a yes or no.

I also have those who don’t like the questions and cross them out. They then write a question that they would like to answer and provide a yes or no response based on their question. That can be very entertaining.

There are some people who feel that there simply isn’t enough space to adequately share their thoughts, so they attach two or three pages of typewritten answers to the questions posed. These are often really interesting.

One gentleman provided a detailed analysis of our road funding challenges and provided answers based on a model he observed while living in Germany.

There are several other examples of surveys which are really trying to be helpful to me as the intended reader. I appreciate the time and interest these folks put into their responses.

Then there are the survey cards that obviously come from people who are angry with government and, since I am an elected official, I fall into the category of being generally an incompetent idiot.

Their survey cards are scribbled across with words I can’t used in a public forum stating that the whole survey is trash, that government is corrupt and stealing tax dollars for nefarious purposes.

A couple said that I should be embarrassed to have my name attached to a survey so poorly constructed. I’m not sure why those folks even use a stamp to return the card except that it provides an opportunity to vent.

Finally and thankfully, there are some who simply want to say thank you, that I have perhaps done one or two things well, or that they appreciate the challenges of the position.

In all of the cases listed in this column, the fact that the people I represent take the time to respond is greatly appreciated. I enjoy hearing from constituents throughout the year and do my best to respond to as many letters, emails or phone messages as I can.

I sincerely enjoy the opportunity to serve you and hope to do so for as long as you will place your confidence in me. With all of its challenges, the constant learning environment of the legislature is something I find personally satisfying.

Please continue to provide feedback both positive and negative. It does help me as I gauge the mood of Senate District 28 regarding the work we do.

State Sen. Mike Crider, R-Greenfield, represents Hancock County in the Indiana General Assembly.