|Getting things done for Ohio in 2013|
|Saturday, December 28, 2013 9:00 PM|
BY US SENATOR
Our nation faces many challenges, and the important work we do here in Washington on issues like job creation, the economy, the budget, healthcare reform, and foreign policy are followed closely by the press. But my job, serving the people of Ohio, is much bigger than what you see in the papers or on 24-hour cable news channels. Every day, my congressional office is working to help constituents solve problems or overcome government obstacles on issues that may not make headlines, but have a huge impact on their lives.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the “right of the people … to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” In congressional offices around the country, the people’s grievances are often addressed through what we call “casework”.
I know firsthand how crucial effective casework service can be to the people we serve, and as a U.S. Senator, I am dedicated to making sure my office is second to none in helping Ohioans through an experienced and talented team of caseworkers stationed in my Columbus office. I am extremely proud of them and the work they do. They are dedicated public servants, committed to helping the people of Ohio take advantage of every avenue available to get things done.
Casework typically involves helping constituents navigate government bureaucracies. One case might involve helping someone receive a Social Security check that has been lost or delayed. Another might involve a Medicare reimbursement, or reapplying for a denied veteran’s claim, or assisting our men and women of the military. Other areas of casework involve federal pensions, visa and passport issues, Black Lung benefits, and federal workers compensation claims.
Among the most gratifying resolutions to casework efforts is when we help a veteran obtain medals he or she rightfully earned in service to their country, but were never awarded for one reason or the other. Nothing can quite match the satisfaction of witnessing a veteran, surrounded by a proud family, finally receiving the Bronze Star, Silver Star, or even the Purple Heart earned long ago.
As a U.S. Senator, I also have the privilege of nominating high school seniors from Ohio for admission into one of the United States Service Academies, including the Military Academy at West Point, the United States Naval Academy, the United States Air Force Academy and the United States Merchant Marine Academy. Nomination forms are available by contacting my Columbus office at 1-800-205-6446.
In 2013, our casework team worked on over 2,300 new cases for Ohioans who came to our office in need of aid. We were able to reach a favorable result in over 81 percent of these cases. I want to share just a few of these successful stories with you.
• A local foundation that conducts humanitarian work was having problems with the FDA and Customs. Over a thousand pairs of donated reading glasses from China were seized and had to go to the FDA for testing. Our staff was able to expedite the release of the shipment and have the glasses distributed to needy families.
• In another instance, a Cleveland man who was looking to expand his business had been waiting for months for a needed permit to be approved by the U.S. Department of Treasury. He contacted us in May hoping to have it expedited in time for a Memorial Day grand opening. We were able to get the application pulled and approved in time for his Memorial Day celebration.
• We also helped a Toledo area woman who surprised her two grandsons with a trip to England only to discover that their passports were expired—two days before they were to leave on their trip. We were able to quickly arrange for them to appear at a local passport agency the next morning and expedite their applications in time for their trip.
For many people, navigating the often turbulent waters of the federal bureaucracy can be a frustrating experience. My office stands ready to help make the sailing a little smoother.