Patrick Skarr, Accounts Supervisor

A few years ago while in the Washington D.C. a cab driver entertained the group I was with, with his rendition of American history and analysis of why Washington was broken. His theory was that the nation’s politicians are too comfortable in the capitol, namely that they should shut down the air conditioner. According to the Senate’s online history, air conditioning was first installed in 1929 and it’s fair to say our nation faced difficult times well before the thermostats entered the picture.

In a bit of irony, our cab driver shared his analysis as we passed the Watergate Hotel – so I suggested there that there are innumerable reasons for the partisanship and gridlock facing our nation and his thesis might need a little more work.  

As record droughts and heat waves have hit the nation this summer, it’s easy to understand how the narrative that Congress is too removed from the problems our county, families and job creators face. Both chambers undertake endless debates and votes that are destined for certain failure.

It’s not a new phenomenon, and if election prognosticators are correct, gridlock won’t go away anytime in the 113th Congress either. 

But there is hope for citizens, businesses and interest groups with issues on Congress’ agenda. The annual August recess is about to begin and that means quality time with our elected officials.

Turn back the clock and review the tremendous impact the August 2010 town halls had for those opposing the Affordable Care Act. Will this year be the revenge of the farmers, postal carriers or defense contractors?

Those of us that complain about our politicians, but don’t use this time to interact with our officials are like those who fail to vote and whine about the outcome. The recess exists for a reason; and it is as much to benefit officials, as it is constituents and job creators.

While its impractical to rip out the air conditioning in the capitol, if we’re unhappy about what our officials are doing, we can use the recess to turn up the heat.