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News for unmarried workers, consumers, taxpayers and voters

Vol. 2, No. 4             Summer Quarter           June - August 2001

A Very Impressive Start

A few months ago, each member of Congress received a packet in the mail from AASP.  It contained a letter from the Executive Director and our March 2001 newsletter focusing on the unfair taxation of single and unmarried Americans.  We included a short questionnaire which highlighted several key areas of concern. 

The following month we sent another letter, informing members of Congress that AASP would be in Washington from May 1 through May 4.   We invited each of them to meet with us.  We also sent a letter to the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) with the same invitation.

One week before our arrival, we placed a 2/3 page ad in the Washington Post -- opposite the federal page.  The headline read "Unmarried Americans Deserve to Know Why."  The ad listed several areas in which unmarried taxpayers were being treated unfairly.  It also announced that AASP would be in Washington the following week -- again inviting members of Congress and party leaders to meet with us.

We had 30-minute meetings with the policy staff of five Representatives and seven Senators -- from both parties.  We also met with staff of the RNC and DNC, and with the President's speech writer.  Thomas F. Coleman, Executive Director of AASP conversed with the staffers while Stephanie Knapik, Director of Public Affairs, observed and took notes.  (See pages 2 and 15 for more details on these meetings.)

May 2001: AASP
Makes History

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Thomas Coleman, Michael  Vasquez,
and Michael Patino after they finished distributing materials to all 535 members of Congress

AASP sent representatives to the nation's capitol during the first week of May 2001. It was a historic trip since this was the first time that a national group representing the interests of single and unmarried Americans had made personal contact with every congressional office.

"In 10 percent of the offices, the staff greeted us with enthusiasism," said Michael A. Vasquez, production manager of AASP.  Some of the staffers said "I'm glad you are here.  I'm single too."

Michael Patino, a volunteer and member of AASP recalled other greetings. "Another 10 percent were hostile or rude to us, snickering and rolling their eyes as if to say 'What next?'  But the vast majority of staffers were professional and polite."

We need some feedback.   Write to your two Senators and to your Representative.  Ask them if they read our materials.

Now for the Follow Up

We had two main reasons for going to the Capitol.  First, to underscore the fact that with 82 million unmarried adults in the nation, the political conversation in Washington should expand beyond the concerns of "working families," parents, and the so-called "marriage penalty."   Second, members of Congress have an obligation to represent all constituents -- and over 40 percent of the adults they represent are unmarried workers and taxpayers.

We stressed the importance of elected officials reaching out to single and unmarried adults as a normal part of ongoing communications to their constituents.  They should say the words "single" or "unmarried" every so often, just as they say "families" or "parents."  More importantly, they should let unmarried constituents know they care about their problems.  Senators and Representatives should invite single and unmarried people to write to them.

In some meetings, we were reminded that communication is a two way street.  We were asked whether single people cared about politics, whether we voted in proportion to our numbers, whether we wrote letters to our elected officials.

As difficult as our trip to Washington was, that was the easy part.  The hard part lies ahead -- stimulating unmarried Americans to write letters and to vote.  If we want to be taken seriously, we must participate.


Table of Contents

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