Allard shuts down contact page three months before term expires

Republican Wayne Allard, retiring after two terms in the Senate, wants Colorado residents to know he has appreciated the cards and letters over the years but will no longer be taking e-mails from constituents. With more than three months to go before his successor is sworn in, Allard’s Senate office this week posted a “thanks, but no thanks” valedictory from the former Fort Collins veterinarian.

Constituents who click on the “Contact Us” link on Allard’s Senate Web site are greeted with the following message, rather than the e-mail comment form that used to reside there:

Thank you for your recent communication. I appreciate you taking the time to contact my office.

The United States Senate has effectively recessed for the remainder of the year, and will not be considering new legislative proposals. I am retiring, and so my Senate career has also ended. Accordingly, I feel that your thoughts and views on this matter would be best addressed to my successor. The benefit of hearing from constituents on legislative and governance issues should be extended to Colorado’s newest Senator and not archived with me.

Allard, who serves on the powerful Senate Banking Committee, might have cut off input from constituents too soon. Last week, after Congress passed the massive $700 billion package to rescue the nation’s troubled markets, one of Allard’s potential successors said there’s a good chance Congress will have to return after the election to continue fixing the economy.

“There’s a 50-50 chance we’ll have a lame duck session,” said Rep. Mark Udall after casting a vote against the bailout bill Friday. The Democrat is facing Republican Bob Schaffer in a bid to replace Allard.

“I hope for the sake of all the people who’ve worked hard and played by the rules that the package does what its supporters promised,” Udall said. But if it doesn’t — and the market’s reaction this week begs the question — Udall held out the possibility that “we’ll have to reconfigure the whole market architecture.”

If there’s a lame-duck session, Allard could indeed revive his contact page, but constituents who can’t wait to reach “Colorado’s newest Senator” about “legislative and governance issues,” can e-mail Mark Udall here or Bob Schaffer here.

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Ernest Luning

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