|Author testifying in 2015|
American democracy is based on the idea that the voices of the people matter. As legislators struggle with difficult issues, trying to balance the needs of conflicting constituencies and solve complicated problems, they need to hear the perspectives of the people most directly affected.
This is why they listen to hour after hour of in-person testimony. Written testimony has its place. Studies and charts provide important information; but being in the presence of the people, hearing their passion, and sometimes seeing their tears brings us together as human beings and makes it possible for legislators to make the best decisions.