Here’s how I can help…

Published 10:25 pm Friday, August 22, 2014

By Rep. J. Randy Forbes

In high school, I worked for a local shoe store chain earning $1 an hour running stock for the salespeople out on the floor. I worked hard to keep the stock room in meticulous order because I knew it would save me time when a salesperson asked for a particular size. At the time of our annual sale, the regional manager wanted everyone out on the sales floor, even us stockers. The reward for the person with the highest sales was $100. At my $1 an hour salary, that seemed like a fortune, and I was determined to prove to my manager that I could put aside my shy demeanor and be successful.

I won the highest sales bonus, but not because I was an excellent salesman. I won the highest sales because I was approachable rather than aggressive. Instead of being pushy, I listened to what the customer really needed.

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I learned an important lesson in my shoe store job: listening matters. It is a core belief I still hold today.

It is one of the reasons why I make the drive up and down the I-64, I-95, and Route 460 corridors between the Fourth District and Washington, D.C., every week that Congress is in session. I value the conversations I have at home as I stand in line in the grocery store, teach my Sunday school class or chat with my neighbors as we are out working in our yards. Those conversations are where I hear some of the most effective common sense solutions.

It’s one of the reasons why I hold tele-town hall meetings. It’s the reason I meet with so many different organizations, businesses and other groups across the district. It’s why I work hard to build partnerships with Fourth District locality officials and government leaders. It’s why I staff my district offices with constituent service representatives who are committed to serving the citizens of the Fourth District. It’s why I send weekly email updates sharing information on the votes I have taken in Congress and ask for feedback on those decisions.

So how can I help you? Here are some of the ways that you’ve told me are important to you:

4Cutting through the red tape. One of my most important duties is to cut through the red tape and ensure that the federal government is working for its citizens, and my constituent service representatives are there to help. Find more information here at

4Putting resources in your hands. On my website, I put helpful resources at your fingertips. For more information, visit

4Giving you the latest. Every day, I send updates from Washington and around the Fourth District of Virginia. Social media sites like Facebook give me the opportunity to share information with you quickly and economically — and they provide a way for constituents of the Fourth District to engage in dialogue to help move our nation forward. Follow me there at

The American people want a government that works for them and is deserving of their trust and pride. The key to good government, as was so eloquently expressed by President Lincoln, is a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Congressman J. Randy Forbes represents Virginia’s Fourth District, which includes Suffolk, in the U.S. House of Representatives. Visit his website at