From lessons to solutions
We all can remember our first jobs — the ones that most of us complained about because we wanted to spend time with friends. But our parents knew that joining the workforce would teach us valuable lessons for the future.
My parents were right. My jobs did teach me valuable lessons — lessons I am putting into action as your attorney general.
When I was a student at the University of Arkansas, I spent summers back home in Independence County, and I was lucky enough to find a job flagging traffic for the Arkansas Highway Department. I will admit that spending hot summer days standing on the road between Pleasant Plains and Oil Trough or Batesville and Cushman was not glamorous work, but I learned a very important lesson, which helps guide me every day.
As a flagger, I quickly noticed that sometimes what the engineers in Little Rock sent to the crews on the highway did not always work the way Little Rock expected. That same type of disconnect often occurs between elected officials in the state Capitol and Arkansans across the state. As your attorney general, I want to know what you think, but I know it is hard to connect with elected officials who work in the capital city when you are in Ash Flat, Mountain View or any other small town across Arkansas. This is why I have launched two major initiatives to stay connected with you.
I launched Mobile Offices because you should not have to get on the Internet, pick up the phone or drive to an office building in Little Rock to meet with a member of my staff.
I consistently hear that Arkansans do not know the ways my office can serve them, and as the people’s lawyer, I want to be accessible to everyone, and that means taking the office outside of the capital city. No issue is too small for my staff to have a face-to-face conversation with Arkansans.
Since May, members of my staff have held mobile offices around the sate in city halls, county courthouses and senior citizen centers, assisting constituents who are having consumer issues and helping them file complaints. On Oct. 8, the Mobile Office stopped in Batesville, my hometown, and Ash Flat in Sharp County. The Sharp County stop marked the first time that the Attorney General’s Office has held office hours in all 75 counties, and I could not be more proud of the work my staff has done to assist Arkansans along the way. As of Oct. 12, we have a standing scheduled mobile office in each congressional district, as well as continued mobile offices in every county in the state.
My second outreach initiative is the Rutledge Roundtable. Instead of asking Arkansans to meet with me in downtown Little Rock, I am meeting in your downtowns so that I can personally listen to the concerns attendees have in their local community. Rutledge Roundtables have started an open conversation, which will help to bring solutions and fix problems moving forward. Before the end of the year, I will have personally traveled to all 75 counties to hear and learn about the important issues facing your communities.
As you can see, the Attorney General’s Office might be based in Little Rock, but I am committed to not staying in a tall office building disconnected from you. For more information about services provided by the Attorney General’s Office, visit ArkansasAG.gov or call 800-482-8982, or connect with me on Facebook at facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge, on Twitter at twitter.com/AGRutledge and on Pinterest at pinterest.com/ArkansasAG.
Leslie Rutledge is the 56th attorney general of Arkansas. Elected on Nov. 4, 2014, she is the first woman and first Republican in Arkansas history to be elected to the office.