Guest Column by Ellie Kinnaird
Many people are cynical about government, feeling it doesn’t really work for them, but sometimes it really does, especially local government.
I hadn’t received my 1099 tax form from the Social Security Administration, so I couldn’t complete my taxes. Calling the generic number on the Social Security form that required an endless number of options, none of which answered my needs, I grew more and more frustrated and angry. I was dreading a visit to the Durham Social Security office might be necessary.
But then I remembered the best help for any government problem is our local government — Rep. David Price’s office.
A pleasant lady by the name of Nadia in David’s office listened to my complaint and said she would find out what she could and email me the information. Nadia emailed me the Durham Social Security office number and recommended a time to call.
Lo and behold, when I called the local office, there were only a couple of phone options to choose and I was on hold only a short time. A very pleasant woman answered, asked for my
personal information and discovered the problem. They did not have my unit number on the address and, because there are strict rules the mail carrier must follow, he sent the letter with my tax form back to Social Security.
The Durham office lady corrected my address and said she would send the form right out.
So, remember that our local government does work. And that is why we elect officials — to help their constituents, whether you voted for them or not.
Take advantage of your local elected official, whether city, county, state or federal government, and give them a chance to solve your problem. Elected officials are here to help.
That was my philosophy when I was mayor and state senator and my wonderful staff knew everything and could solve our constituents’ problems. So, don’t get frustrated and angry when government isn’t responsive. Instead, call your local representative — they will serve you well.
Ellie Kinnaird is a former mayor of Carrboro and a member of the state senate.