Here’s how I can help…

Published 11:54 am Saturday, August 16, 2014

by Randy Forbes

In high school, I worked for a local shoe store chain earning $1 an hour running stock for the salespeople out on the floor. I worked hard to keep the stock room in meticulous order because I knew it would save me time when a salesperson asked for a particular size. At the time of our annual sale, the regional manager wanted everyone out on the sales floor, even us stockers. The reward for the person with the highest sales was $100. At my $1 an hour salary, that seemed like a fortune, and I was determined to prove to my manager that I could put aside my shy demeanor and be successful.

Well, I won the highest sales bonus, but not because I was an excellent salesman. I won the highest sales because I was approachable rather than aggressive. Instead of being pushy, I listened to what the customer really needed (I also knew the stock room like the back of my hand, which I quickly realized worked to my customers’ advantage.).

I learned an important lesson in my shoe store job: listening matters. It matters to people. It matters for results. It matters for success. It matters to me. When we appropriately understand individual needs, we can provide first-class service. It is a core belief I still hold today, and one of my chief responsibilities in Congress.

It is one of the reasons why I make the drive up and down the I-64, I-95, and Route 460 corridors between the 4th District and Washington, D.C every week that Congress is in session — I value the conversations I have at home as I stand in line in the grocery store, teach my Sunday school class at church, or chat with my neighbors as we are out working in our yards. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy meeting citizens in each locality across the Fourth District. Those conversations are where I hear some of the most effective common sense solutions and they spark some of my best ideas.

It’s one of the reasons why I hold tele-town hall meetings, a forum that allows me to reach thousands of constituents at a time (I spoke with over 11,000 people on my last call) and to have purposed dialogue with constituents about some of the most pressing issues facing our country. It’s the reason I meet with so many different organizations, businesses, and other groups across the district. It’s why I work hard to build partnerships with Fourth District locality officials and government leaders across all political backgrounds. It’s why I staff my district offices with constituent service representatives who are committed to serving the citizens of the Fourth District with professionalism, efficiency and courtesy. It’s why I send weekly email updates sharing information on the votes I have taken in Congress and ask for feedback on those decisions.

So how can I help you? Here are some of the ways that you’ve told me are important to you:

Cutting through the red tape. One of my most important duties is to cut through the red tape and ensure that the federal government is working for its citizens, and my Constituent Service Representatives are there to help. I’m happy to have a Constituent Services Representative in both of my district offices to assist you with any problem related to a federal government service. Find more information here:

Putting resources in your hands. Perhaps you need information on paying for college. Perhaps you’re an educator looking for classroom resources and grant opportunities. Perhaps you’re a servicemember looking for assistance with a military benefit. On my website, I put helpful resources at the fingertips of parents, small business owners, organizations seeking grants, military members, and many others. For more information, visit:

Giving you the latest. Every day, I send updates from Washington and around the Fourth District of Virginia. Social media sites like Facebook give me the opportunity to share information with you quickly and economically — and they provide a way for constituents of the Fourth District to engage in dialogue to help move our nation forward.

The material we share is brief and informative. You’ll find updates on the latest bills I’ve cosponsored or supported, links to reports, videos on major issues, articles I’m reading, and surveys where you can let your voice be heard. Follow me there:

The American people want a government that works for them and is deserving of their trust and pride. A government that relies on the voices of individuals, families, and businesses, promotes a more creative, innovative, and successful society. The key to good government, as was so eloquently expressed by President Lincoln, is a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

RANDY FORBES represents Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. For contact information, see