By Sen. Paul Scott
I’d like to share some of my thoughts from my first year as your State Senator. It’s definitely been a different kind of year with the current budget issues. We’re continuing to work towards a solution. However, I wanted to share the other daily work that goes on in our office. There’s a lot of “behind the scenes” work that goes on in a Senator’s office.
You can call my office for assistance with multiple issues, not just legislation. Our office is open Monday – Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm.
Our office policy is to reply to each call and email within 24 hours of receipt. My assistant, Audra Brice, or I will respond. When your issue requires further action or research, we’ll attempt to address your concerns and reply within the same week.
We receive a high volume of emails and phone calls on a daily basis year-round. During session (Feb. 5-May. 25) that volume doubles. Our office receives about 80-100 new emails daily during session. In addition, we receive a multitude of invitations to events and meetings throughout the year. My assistant maintains my calendar as well. If you’ll be visiting the Capitol, please call and let her know the date. We look forward to visiting with you or your group.
It’s an honor to serve the district and have the opportunity to attend community events. I enjoy being a member of the various Chambers in our district (Duncan, Blanchard, Purcell, etc.). I attend numerous community meetings and events on the weekends. This gives me the opportunity to keep city officials, community leaders and citizens informed about legislative activity and keeps me informed about local issues. I always enjoy visiting with constituents at these events.
As a Senator’s office, we receive frequent inquiries about DHS cases. When constituents call with concerns over DHS cases (child support, child custody, etc.), we’re often able to assist with communication between the constituent and DHS offices. Some cases can be handled with a simple phone call to facilitate communication. Other cases are more in-depth and information is confidential within DHS but we’re happy to assist when we can within the limits of the law.
The main concern when someone calls about child cases is the children. We serve as a mediator when parents or guardians call our office. We have had constituents call with child support concerns and we were able to help direct them to the proper person to talk to about their case. In other cases, we have had parents call about child custody issues and we inquired about their case with DHS. There have been cases where DHS needed to investigate and others where our inquiry led to communication with a parent that solved their issue. Most importantly, the child welfare hotline (800) 522-3511 should always be the first call that is made if a child is presumed to be in immediate danger. Otherwise, feel free to call our office Monday – Friday and we we’ll do our best to assist you.
In the last year, my office has received calls from various constituents with concerns about their social security claims/benefits. Social Security is a federal issue, but we’re able to direct our constituents to someone on the federal level who can help them. One special situation involved a homeless individual who needed assistance claiming his social security benefits. We were able to connect him to someone to help him with his claim. In the process, our office was instrumental in helping him with resources for some basic needs and, ultimately, his own housing. There are many resources in our state (and in our own district) to assist constituents when needed. For example, there’s assistance available for food, shelter and help with utility bills when there’s a temporary urgent need. We’re often able to connect you to the right resource for your specific needs and we’re happy to do so.
Next week, I’ll continue discussing the services our office provides.
If you have any questions or concerns, I can be reached at email@example.com or (405) 521-5522. You can also write me at the state Capitol at Sen. Paul Scott, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., Room 529A, Oklahoma City, OK 73105.