Just as there is no such thing as a dumb question in a learning situation, surely there is no such thing as a foolish concern in the political arena.
Yet, IPERS members contacting legislators regarding IPERS being included in Senate File 634, the property tax bill, were repeatedly told their concerns were ridiculous and foolish. Members were also told they were hapless victims of scare tactics and fake news.
When I reached out to my representative about IPERS being included in the bill, Rep. Ashley Hinson emailed me back to say my concerns about IPERS were ludicrous.
How did I know my concerns were legitimate? First, they were shared by more than 10,000 members of the Don’t Touch My IPERS Facebook group, which researched the bill and reached out to experts in an effort to understand how and if it was a threat to IPERS. After doing so, the group decided this could be a future threat to IPERS. Second, during debate legislator after legislator asked to have IPERS language removed. Why? While not fundamentally changing the IPERS system, bill language most certainly could place IPERS in harms’ way.
The next time a constituent reaches out to an elected official, the official needs to treat the constituent with respect as well as take the concern seriously. This is not a partisan issue but one of mutual respect. The word “ludicrous” should not appear anywhere in the response.