Have a problem with a law? Tax? Want to voice your opinion outside of Facebook, but don’t know who to e-mail or call? This article lists your local, state and federal government representatives, and how to best get in touch with them. There are 19 government officials that you should be familiar with. The best way to get things done is to start at the local level, and if your problem is not solved, then move up to the state and federal level. It’s important to note that while you are likely to talk to a New Bedford City Council member, it is unlikely that you will deal with your state or federal representatives. As you go up the chain of government, at least initially, you are more likely to deal with staff members due to the sheer size of their constituents.
The New Bedford City Council
If you want to get anything done at the local level, you are best to start with the New Bedford City Council. In 2011, I wrote an article detailing their responsibilities and is a good starting point in understanding their function. There are six Ward City Council Members who represent specific geographical areas and five “at-large” City Council members who each represent New Bedford as a whole. In general, the City Council sets the city budget, confirms all mayoral appointments and legislate all laws/ordinances to govern the City. When it comes to money, job appointments and laws, they are the responsible players. They meet the first Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. to formally get things done. To find out your ward, head over to the official City Council page and click on the Ward Map tab. Here’s the list of City Councilors and their contact information.
The New Bedford Mayor’s Office
If you’d like to contact the Mayor’s Office, your best bet is to e-mail: Jon.Mitchell@newbedford-ma.gov. As the chief executive of New Bedford and a busy man, it is best to allow his staff (and possible him) to address your questions and comments by e-mail. There is also a wealth of information on the official City of New Bedford website and the information there just may address your question/concern.
When dealing with state issues, New Bedford has three main representatives; two state representatives, Antonio F.D. Cabral and Robert M. Koczera and one state senator, Mark C. Montigny. Much like the New Bedford City Council, the representatives represent a portion of New Bedford; Robert M. Koczera represents New Bedford Ward’s 1, 2 and 3, and Antonio F.D. Cabral represents Wards 4, 5 and 6. Senator Montigny represents New Bedford and the towns of Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven and Mattapoisett. I’d recommend starting with your representative first, then moving on to Senator Montigny. Here’s their contact information.
Senator Montigny is one of the few politicians I know that not only uses his Facebook page, but actually responds to people. This may be a great starting point to chat with him!
The federal level is much like the state level, but this time you have one representative, William R. Keating and two U.S. Senators, John Kerry and Elizabeth Warren. When attempting to work an issue at this level, you are best visiting their websites. For example, Senator Kerry has a form you can fill out and contact information for his Boston and Washington D.C. offices. Elizabeth Warren has phone number for her Boston and Washington D.C. offices.
The White House
Hopefully, you don’t expect to just pick up the phone and talk directly to President Obama. If you feel that you have an issue that deserves the White House’s attention, there are several ways to contact the White House.