Letters to My Representatives 3-21-2017

Today I sent Senator Stabenow and Senator Peters the same letter, below. Then I wrote a different one to Representative Mitchell.

I also want to share a tidbit from a friend of mine who is a DNC political staffer who talked to a GOP political staffer who is a long time friend. The GOP staffer (obviously not a Trump supporter) indicates that the pressure of phone calls/emails is working. It won’t show success immediately, but the slow relentless pressure of constituents writing/calling and staying engaged is being noticed. It’s hard to see what impact we are having, but we are! Keep it up!

Dear Senator Stabenow,

I think in light of the current FBI investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia, it is even more important that Gorsuch’s nomination for Supreme Court be put on hold. We should not be subjected to a Supreme Court pick chosen by a potentially illegal president. This seat should have gone to Garland, or at the least he should have gotten hearings and a vote. The GOP’s stance was abhorrent and counter to democracy.

I also demand that there be a full independent commission to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia (campaign, finances, potential blackmail) as soon as possible. I am horrified at the GOP’s distractions from this by claiming we need to investigate leaks, not Trump’s potentially illegal activities. We must not back down and allow this to be business as usual. I ask that you demand a commission (much like what we had for 9/11) and that you continue to take a strong stance on this issue.

Thank you for your time.


Jennifer Austin


Dear Representative Mitchell,

In light of Comey’s testimony yesterday, I will once again demand that an independent commission be formed to do a full and comprehensive investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia (financial, campaign, & potential blackmail). I am appalled at the GOP’s responses yesterday to Comey’s testimony. Their concern was not on the potential egregious matter of Trump colluding with Russia, but rather leaks that have let loose information from the White House. That is the equivalent of trying to punish the person who called the fire department when your house is on fire. The American people deserve to know what is going on here and it is Congress’s responsibility to thoroughly investigate. Party before country has got to stop, on both sides of the aisle.

Thank you for your time.

Jennifer Austin

Be a Selfish Writer


Being a writer has many different challenges: grammar, word usage, plot, picking just one story to write. Then there are queries, selling your book, marketing, trying to sell the next book, maintaining a career, and on and on. Many of the latter I haven’t experienced yet, though I’m really hopeful I will, but the challenge I find most daunting is time management.

And I don’t think it matters if you’re a new writer squeezing it in between work and social life, or an established writer who is juggling signings, writing the next book, and marketing the one that’s out there. We all have demands on our time and the trick is finding the right balance for what works for our life and our careers.

I remember when I first started writing I was a new stay-at-home mom. Those were a couple of easy years. I was used to working 40-60 hours a week, taking my kids to daycare, and still keeping the house clean, spending time with family, and getting everywhere we needed to be on time. Suddenly I had entire days open to me. My house had never been so clean, I made cupcakes for every classroom holiday, I volunteered for every gymnastic meet and school field trip. Writing was Cinderella going to the ball if all her chores were done. The stepmother found infinite problems for Cinderella to overcome, and I did the same thing to myself.

There was a lot of guilt in those early years. I wasn’t staying home to become a writer; I was staying home because our move made it difficult to find a job in my previous career and because we expected to have more children. It was the logical choice. And writing was just the frosting on the cupcake.

So I prioritized everything over writing. But it slowly began to gain on me. Even though I felt guilty for letting that laundry pile up, I just wanted to finish that chapter. And the dishes needed to be done, but I had some more research to do. I was torn between accepting that writing was a job I wasn’t getting paid for, and being the wonder-mom I expected myself to be. After all, my husband was working full-time, I owed it to him to have dinner on the table, the house clean, and laundry done, right?

Yeah, maybe. But that wasn’t really working in my situation. My husband wasn’t placing those expectations on me, I was doing it to myself. As my writing became more and more important to me, and it became clear that I was actually good at it, my priorities slowly shifted. Until one day I decided this was going to be a career, not just a hobby I fit in between babies and housework.

I became selfish. I had to. My older kids were in school full time already, but I needed to put the younger ones in daycare. Yup, I was paying out money so I could write. The guilt compounded, even though I needed this for my career as well as my sanity. (Turns out I’m not the most maternal-stay-at-home mom kind of person.) I needed a career—and I’d found one I absolutely loved—for my own mental health.

And don’t think I wasn’t judged on this. Family and acquaintances alike made comments like, “You’re kids go to daycare? But you stay home?”

Adding their judgment to my own self-generated guilt was a wonderful mix of anxiety and incrimination. But you know what? I stuck with it. My husband supported me. That was really important. I’d never have been able to do what I did without him and his unquestioning support. I get that not everyone has that luxury. Of the supporting husband or the means to pay for daycare when you aren’t actually bringing in any dollar signs yourself. And to be clear, this wasn’t full time. It was two to three days a week.

See, even now I can’t get away from the guilt.

But back to the point. You have to be selfish with your writing. And this can apply in many different ways. Of course you have to set priorities, and children, significant others, work and many other things often need to take a front row seat. But that doesn’t mean that every second of your time needs to be devoted to them. It’s okay to bring store-bought cupcakes to your child’s recital, no matter if those Pinterest Moms look down their noses at you. And yup, I used to be one of those Pinterest Moms. But I like the view off my self-imposed pedestal a lot better.

Sometimes your significant other needs to help with the kids, or the chores. Maybe your mom can baby sit. Or maybe your friends will have to understand that you can only go out once a month instead of every weekend. Sacrifices need to be made, on your part and sometimes on other people’s part too. But that’s where your priorities need to come in. Make a list of all the things you have to do and the things you want to do. Try to determine how much time you can allot to each one, or if some need to come off the list for the time being. It’s all about what works for you.

Yes, there will be guilt. You’ll create some, and those you love will create some. There will be sacrifices. Sometimes your own sacrifices, and sometimes from others. But as long as it’s all in moderation, it’s okay.

For my own case, I had to make writing a part of my life, not a hobby or just something I enjoyed. I still give up writing days now and then for classroom parties and to nurse a sick toddler, but everyone in my family knows it’s my job. Even if I’m not getting paid yet. They see me writing at my desk, and they know that they can interrupt me if they need to, but that Mommy is working. They know they can’t stay home from daycare-day just because they don’t feel like going. They know our house isn’t the cleanest or most orderly in town. Okay, they may have accepted it’s the literal worst, but they also get another benefit.

They see me being dedicated to something: a dream.

They see that they are the most important parts of my life, but there is value in me and my achievements as well as their own. They see me never giving up, working hard, and believing in myself.

So be selfish with your writing. Within reason, of course. Because whether that book ever gets published, whether you ever make any money, whether another person beyond your CPs ever read your words: there is value in pursing a dream and investing in yourself.

Letters to My Representatives 3-20-2017

Good morning fellow Resistors! Here is my letter to Senator Debbie Stabenow for today. Senator Gary Peters received and identical letter and for Representative Paul Mitchell’s letter I removed the portion on Supreme Court nomination (as the House of Reps doesn’t vote on that) and changed some of the wording to reflect that Mitchell doesn’t agree with some of stances. Be sure to write/call your own reps today. We make ourselves heard not by the volume of one individual’s voice, but by volume in numbers of all our voices!

Dear Senator Stabenow,

Good morning!

I encourage you to take a stand against Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court. I encourage you to filibuster this nomination and take a strong stance against his nomination. At the very least, he needs a vigorous questioning and thorough hearing. While I respect Judge Gorsuch’s accomplishments, I do agree with the comments from Democratic leaders like Senator Chuck Schumer, reiterating that Judge Gorsuch’s presumptive seat belongs to Merrick Garland.

Please continue to fight for a full bipartisan investigation into Trump, his campaign, and his surrogate’s ties to Russia, both politically, financially and things the Russian’s could use to blackmail any in the Trump administration. It is imperative the American people have full knowledge of what has taken place, who lied and when, and who knew what and when.

I encourage you to strongly oppose Trump’s proposed budget. The budget focuses too much on military/defense expenditures and not enough on diplomacy. It cuts needed funds that serve the most vulnerable and needy in this country as well as provide education and development. Those cuts will drastically damage us as a nation able to interact effectively not only with each other, but with the world. The cuts amount to small portions of the budget that make no difference in the enormity of the budget, but their wide spreading impact will be felt by all Americans. And I am appalled at the statements put forth by the GOP as to the ineffectiveness of these programs when there is ample evidence to the contrary. I’d also like to put forth that returns on investment are a terrible and inhumane way to look at programs that benefit humans. Their value as humans is intrinsic, not determined by how much they “give” to society.

Please continue to stand strong against the AHCA and any attempts to repeal ACA. While the program does need some adjustments to make it work best for all Americans, a repeal is not what is best for America.

Thank you for your time.


Jennifer Austin

Visit Itstimetofight.com for more information, scripts and call lists. They are a vital resource in resisting this damaging GOP administration.

Letters to My Representatives 3-17-2017

Hey everyone! Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Here is my letter I sent to my three representatives today. In case you’re wondering why I almost always post the letter I sent to Senator Stabenow, it’s because I write her’s first because I feel like I can speak to her without getting angry, so if I send a Republican the same or almost same letter I send to her, I’m much nicer. 🙂


Dear Senator Stabenow,

Good morning! Here are my concerns for today:

I encourage you to take make a statement regarding Trump’s predicted hard power stance concerning international issues. Specifically the approach he appears to be moving toward in regards to China and North Korea, but also his general international approach (minus Russia of course). We have had a history of using both soft power (diplomacy) and hard power (show of force) and I don’t think choosing hard power over diplomacy will make us safer.

In fact, I think Trump’s actions may provoke more unrest in the world and potentially drive us toward war. His Muslim ban does not make us safer, is a slap in the face to intelligence officials who have been doing their jobs effectively long before Trump showed up, and creates more tension and ill feelings toward Americans. The same will be true of any hardline actions he takes toward North Korea. We need to take an intelligent and thought out approach to international diplomacy and Trump’s bully tactics he used in business are going to result in lives lost.

I encourage you to make strong statements against Trump’s proposed budget cuts. I don’t have the time or space to list all those that are ludicrous and will damage our country, though I will give a detailed list in the near future. Trump is attempting to damage this country in the interest of promoting increases in “safety” when he is actually making us less safe. He is perpetuating a self-fulling prophecy and I believe he does this intentionally.

I encourage you to make a strong statement regarding Trump spending, especially in light of his proposed budget cuts to programs that benefit needy Americans. American tax dollars are going to his weekend trips top Mar-a-Lago and to Melania residing in New York. Worse yet, we (the American people) are paying Trump to house him and Secret service and aids in buildings owned by Trump, therefore filling his own pocket with more money. The inappropriateness of this is astounding.

In closing, I encourage you to come out strong against Trump in his apparent bid to bolster armed services that he will control (military budget increases, ICE hiring proposals, and giving more power to ICE agents). While we need strong military and law enforcement, I am concerned that Trump is following a playbook that will grant him more and more authoritarian power. And I believe he is hoping for an opportunity to use such force in an effort to solidify his control during a time of national crisis.

Thank you for your time.


Jennifer Austin

Letters to My Representatives 3-14-2017

Here are today’s letters. Everybody received the same one with no changes. Please feel free to copy and paste if you would like to use them for your own reps. We need to keep making our voices heard.

Dear Senator Stabenow,

My first concern for today is Trump’s prospective EO to reorganize the Executive Branch. While I do think that the government could benefit from reorganization across all branches in an effort to save money, do a job more efficiently, and cut red tape that prevents citizens from receiving the aid they need, I DO NOT trust Trump or his administration to do this in a meaningful, comprehensive and intelligent way. I see Trump as trying to consolidate power in himself and his immediate subordinates. I also see him trying to create discord and chaos in our current government so he can use these examples of inefficiency (that he creates) as a valid reason for him to make the changes that he wants. I do not trust him to make changes that benefit the American people. I encourage you to be vigilant as these actions move forward and stop him from damaging our system of government and consolidating more power in his hands. If anything, we need an independent commission making suggestions about how to run our government more smoothly, not a person who has a stake in grabbing more power for himself. Not to mention many positions are still unfilled and Trump shows no indication he is going to fill them, thus creating a system where employees are too busy with White House mandate to do their jobs effectively and thereby hurting the American people.

My second concern is the AHCA. I am upset that as many as 14 million people will lose coverage by next year. I realize this is largely attributed to repeal of penalties if you don’t participate in the plans, and while I understand that ideology, insurance works when all people participate, just like car, home, flood insurance do. They are there to guard us against catastrophes and in the case of health insurance, to give us the care necessary to remain healthy. Even worse is the loss of coverage to upwards of 24 million people by 2026. I do not like that this will increase costs exponentially for people with pre-existing conditions and the elderly, two groups of people who are the least able to shoulder the extra cost in the first place. I am concerned that this will decrease the quality of insurance plans as they will be competing on cost basis not a quality basis. And I am concerned that this will narrow the scope of care that people can receive through the insurance plans, such as losing maternity benefits. I encourage you to oppose the AHCA.

I’d also like to encourage you to strongly oppose Rep. John Shimkus’s remarks regarding that men shouldn’t have to pay for women’s prenatal care. The sentiment is utterly ludicrous and sexist, placing all the burden for childcare on the woman. Yet I’m sure he has no problem regulating whether women can have an abortion or have access to birth control.

I encourage you to strongly denounce Rep. Steve King’s racist remarks regarding white nationalism. Trump is an enabler and a vindication to all the racists that have been hiding. Now they feel they can come out and promote a homogeneous society and white nationalism with no repercussions. We must be adamant and have zero tolerance for these words and behaviors.

Jennifer Austin

Letters to My Representatives 3-13-2017

Here is today’s letter. All three received the same one, though I removed a few things from Rep. Mitchell’s as they weren’t pertinent to his House duties.

Dear Senator Stabenow,

Good morning! Here are today’s concerns:

I encourage you to call for and support a special prosecutor and an independent commission to investigate Flynn, Sessions, Trump and his entire campaign organization and their ties to Russia, both during the campaign and financial.

I don’t know what can be done about Pruitt and how he’s handling the EPA, but please keep those thoughts in mind going forward. I know you are already fighting the proposed budget cuts to funds that benefit the Great Lakes Region, so please keep up that fight. Also, I read that Pruitt had the phone line shut down that many people were calling in to complain about his comments regarding climate change. I hope you will condemn this act if it is true. The government CANNOT shut down communication with the American people or it is no longer a government for and by the people.

Please delay the confirmation of Gorsuch as Supreme Court judge. Use it as leverage to get an investigation into Trump’s Russian ties.

I am very concerned with Trump’s lack of interest in replacing and appointing qualified people, or any people for that matter, to many government jobs. I see this as a ploy to reduce the power others have in government so he can aggregate it around himself. It is dangerous to allow that man to change our government for his benefit.

Please vote no on HR7.

Thank you for your time.

Jennifer Austin

Letters to My Representatives 3-8-2017

Here is today’s letter. All three received the same basic letter with a few small tweaks.

Dear Senator Stabenow,

My daily letter is a little late today because I delivered flowers to all the female staff at my sons’ school this morning in honor of International Women’s Day and in acknowledgment of a Day Without a Woman. I am a writer and a stay-at-home mom, so striking was not really a statement I could make, though I am refraining from using social media and making any purchases today. I am wearing red and doing what I can to promote awareness that all people need equality.

I would like to thank you for your continued stance to support and promote women. You are doing necessary work.

I would like for you to ask for or use influence to ask others for a CBO score for the AHCA. It is inappropriate that the GOP is trying to ram this bill through before Congress, health experts, and the American people are given a chance to analyze what this bill means. We need comprehensive analysis of something before we are forced to accept a GOP agenda that will damage Americans and their healthcare. I encourage you not to support this bill.

I am opposed to Trump’s newest Muslim ban, and yes I will call it that, because no matter what kind of mental gymnastics he and the GOP try to use to sell this, it is a Muslim ban. He insults the men and women who have worked tirelessly to protect our country and vet incoming immigrants and refugees by claiming the process is not stringent enough. And he violates human rights and basic ethics of our country. I encourage you to oppose this legally-questionable act.

Once again, I want to see a full investigation done into Trump’s ties including financial and any other to Russia, especially during the election. This includes a full investigation into Trump’s associates during the campaign such as Flynn, Kushner, Manafort, Sessions and others. The American people deserve to know the truth. Trump should not be making decisions that affect the American people while these questions are still unanswered.

I will not be writing letters tomorrow, as I will be using that time to thank woman on social media and in person for all that they do. I think it is important that we continue to make a statement about important issues affecting this country and I want you to know that I am doing my part to contribute to the narrative.

Thank you for your time.

Jennifer Austin