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Poor are at legislators' mercy

Political editor Bob Bernick Jr. asserts (Nov. 4): "The poor, sick, downtrodden don't contribute to legislative campaigns. They don't hire high-priced and influential lobbyists. They probably don't send in e-mails or make phone calls to legislators. Sometimes they don't even vote."

As a "working poor" family, we may not be in a position to financially influence our elected officials, but we do contact them via telephone and e-mail. We are currently serving as state party delegates and most certainly exercise our right to vote. We submit letters to the editor, even if we can't afford a subscription to the papers to which we write. We have found that, while they honestly believe they have our best interests at heart, most of our legislators have no concept of what it's like to be poor — or even lower middle class — in contemporary society. They don't understand that a $30 tax increase is a week's groceries. Trying to help them understand is like trying to communicate with someone from another planet.

It is virtually impossible for people like us to run for office. We can't afford the filing fees in many instances, let alone campaign costs. Taking time off from work and family responsibilities is not viable. We are at the mercy of the privileged few who can.

Toby and Carina Dillon