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Letter: Where was Reed when constituent needed help?

Where was Reed when constituent needed help?

On July 3, my father-in-law died in South America. He was a resident of Steuben County and a veteran. One bit of neighborly wisdom I’ve often heard is, if you have a death in the family overseas, call your representative in Congress.

Tom Reed boasts about his great care for families in his district: “This is our primary focus. Constituent service is what representation is really all about.” Reed stylizes himself as a friend to veterans: “We care about our veterans and they deserve our very best.”

I called his offices in Corning and in Washington, D.C., on July 4. I didn’t expect an answer, but a voice on the line would have been welcome. I understood that on a federal holiday, no one would be at work.

Thankfully there was someone at work, the Marine duty officer at the U.S. Consulate in Ecuador, C.W. Malinak. He was gracious and kind on the phone, detailing all of the paperwork and contacts we would need. Over the next two days, my 18-year-old son was able to navigate the bureaucracies of two countries and bring the remains of my father-in-law home.

On July 7, Reed’s office called. July 7. I felt like an afterthought, a footnote.

Perhaps if I was a donor, or if I didn’t live so close to Tompkins County’s “extreme Ithaca liberals”…

We were a family in need of representation, we thought. Turns out we didn’t need Reed at all.

Tim Page


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