A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Ruth Braun of Saginaw (no known relation to the senior managing editor of this newspaper) is the inaugural winner of the Michigan Capitol Confidential letter contest. Her winning entry is the letter shown below. It was written to state Rep. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, asking the lawmaker to explain his roll call vote as it was reported in the article titled "Right-to-Work Bill Rejected" from the November/December 2008 issue of Michigan Capitol Confidential.

Legislators work for the people and Ms. Braun’s note to her employee provides a model for how every boss should respectfully interact with their subordinates.

She wins the framed original of the "Energy 101" Henry Payne cartoon that adorned the front page of the November/December 2008 issue.

The contest, which was also introduced in the November/December 2008 issue, was created in response to recent reports from readers that some lawmakers have begun to deny their own voting records when confronted by Michigan Capitol Confidential readers. Subscribers who have referenced Michigan Capitol Confidential stories when writing to lawmakers or submitting letters that are published in Michigan newspapers are encouraged to forward copies of those letters to us. The very best examples will win a framed original of one of the cartoons from our front page. (If readers receive responses from lawmakers, they are encouraged to enter copies of those as well.)

Ms. Braun's winning entry was selected primarily because of its exceptionally civil tone, brevity and informed prose. While disagreeing with the legislator's vote regarding the issue at hand, she generously conceded that he often does represent her views well and thanks him for it. Additionally, she lucidly but dispassionately argues her point and invites him to respond in kind. Legislators work for the people and Ms. Braun's note to her employee provides a model for how every boss should respectfully interact with their subordinates.

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(Note: Ms. Braun reports that an equally civil and thoughtful reply was received from Rep. Horn.)

The contest will continue, with the winners announced periodically in forthcoming issues of Michigan Capitol Confidential.

Subscribers may submit entries to:

Michigan Capitol Confidential
c/o Contest
140 West Main Street
Midland, MI 48640

Please remember to include your own name, address and contact information with the entry.

Congratulations and thanks to Ms. Braun.

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