The district office for Congressman Sanford Bishop can act as an advocate for constituents, but has its limits. (Source: WALB)
Officials at the office said that recent government cutbacks have fewer people working in organizations with more people to serve. (Source: WALB)
Eugene Harris (Source: WALB)
District Director Kenneth Cutts (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
Eugene Harris has been to Congressman Sanford Bishop's Albany district office several times, seeking help with the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Dublin.
"I've talked to the Dublin VA for the last nine months trying to get some dental work, " said Harris. "And I haven't got it done yet."
Congressman Bishop's District Director said the five employees in their office hear these kinds of complaint a lot.
"When they come to us, we are their last hope. And sometimes they are frustrated with the system and the bureaucracy, which is the federal government," explained District Director Kenneth Cutts.
In fact, staff said the majority of complaints and calls to Bishop's office are about problems with the Veterans Administration or Social Security benefits.
Officials at the office said that recent government cutbacks have fewer people working in organizations with more people to serve.
Unfortunately, Bishop's staff explained that even a congressman can't give those government bureaucracies orders.
"A lot of people think we are a big brother so to speak, and that we can tell people what to do. And we can snap our fingers and get things done. But it doesn't work like that," said Cutts
Bishop's office said they can act as an advocate, but federal government agencies are beyond his influence.
Bishop's congressional district covers part or all of 29 Southwest Georgia counties, so his staff meets with constituents and listens to their concerns.
"The congressman spends the majority of his time in Washington D.C., and so he depends on his district office to a large extent to be his sounding board, to get a feel of what's on people's minds," said Cutts. "What issues and concerns they would like to address."
So while the office may not have gotten Harris a dental appointment with the VA yet, he said he knows they are trying.
"They working diligently to help me get it done," said Harris. "And that's why I'm here."
Congressman Bishop was not available to be a part of this story. He is currently serving his thirteenth term in Congress and has been in the same office since 1992.