Representative Tracy Ehlert (D-Cedar Rapids) is in the process of creating a constituency advisory group. It’s a newer idea that should prove beneficial.
“During legislative freshman orientation we discussed our communication plans,” Ehlert said. “A constituency advisory group was mentioned and I decided I wanted to have that as part of my communication plan.”
Ehlert represents House District 70. The district encompasses 12 precincts. So far she has all but four precincts represented within the House District 70 Constituent Advisory Group. Some precincts have multiple representation.
Senator Todd Taylor used to represent the district. Taylor held the seat for more than 20 years.
“Constituents know him, not me — yet,” Ehlert said. “By forming this advisory group I am hoping to get to know the constituents better and not just during campaign season.”
Ehlert is also hopeful that she can get bipartisan interest in the advisory group.
“Although I am a Democrat, I want this advisory group to be non-partisan,” she said. “This group is not about me running for office, which I will do again. But it’s about being accessible to the district and better learning the needs of each precinct and those who live in them.”
The group will serve as a district-wide neighborhood association, Ehlert said.
“I’m hoping constituents can learn from me, but I’m going to learn from them as well,” she said. “I am asking them to help me identify local businesses in their precincts, new neighbors, local events, special accomplishments. For those who aren’t sure who to contact for issues, I want them to feel comfortable contacting me and I can help direct them to the proper resources.”
Ehlert has lived on the west side of Cedar Rapids in the district for all but five of the past 32 years.
“But areas change and it can be a lot to keep up, especially during legislative session,” said Ehlert, who works three jobs outside of the legislative session. “I don’t want to lose touch with my district during those busy times, so I’m hoping by forming this constituent advisory group I can stay better connected.”
For those interested, Ehlert is still looking to cover precincts 20, 21, 27, 30 and TCLI. They can email Ehlert at [email protected]