Lou Hinkle: Behind every councilman, there's a good aide - Community News
Community News, Jessie Chadderdon
They do most of their work behind the scenes, but they're vital to making New Castle County's legislative branch tick. Council members are part-time officials, so no matter how hard they may try, it's impossible for them to personally handle the thousands of constituent inquiries their offices receive every year. That's where legislative aides, like Lou Hinkle, come in. For 11 years, he's loyally manned Councilman Robert Weiner's offices, taking phone calls, answering e-mails, even attending meetings in his stead. This week, Hinkle reflects on his job in public service with the Community News.
Q What is your favorite part about being a legislative aide?
A Helping people. I really enjoy being able to help people with problems that affect their daily lives. Sometimes we have to effect change by changing legislation or codes that affect our constituents. It is exciting to be part of that change!
Q What is it like to work for Councilman Weiner?
A We have a very busy office because of Councilman Weiner. We answer every phone call, answer every e-mail and letter sent to our office and we meet with constituents and officials on a daily basis. Councilman Weiner attends civic meetings every night of the week and this lends to utilizing our office to help facilitate the solving of problems and issues for our constituents.
Q What kind of dealings do you have with constituents on a day-to-day basis? Give an example of how you've been able to help them?
A We mostly interact by telephone or online by emails. Occasionally, we do meet in person to discuss their issues. I just left a meeting with several constituents and several state officials where we were discussing a proposed path to allow inter-connectivity of two communities. We were there to protect the interest and concerns of our constituents. In another instance, our office received a call from a very distraught constituent who had just received notification that the county was going to begin working on sewer upgrades on her property. She did not understand why this was necessary since she noted that her sewer was working fine. I took the time to explain to her the facts of the county's Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation Project in Brandywine Hundred and she was very grateful to learn the why and when and how this was all going to occur.
Q What is your single biggest day-to-day challenge?
A Helping constituents solve their problems that affect their quality of life in New Castle County
Q What is the best advice you’ve received?
A I have received thousands of bits of advice but will only share two: "Take the cotton out of your ears and stuff it in your mouth" and "You can accomplish more with a kind word and a shillelagh than you can with just a kind word."
Q Where do you see yourself in five years?
A On a 59-foot Carver in the middle of Key West with a rod in one hand….
Q What did you want to be when you grew up?
A A police officer…and it came true!
Q Name someone who has had a major influence on you?
A My mother. She raised six boys and one girl all the while working two jobs. She also carved some time out of her life for what she enjoyed doing…singing! Because of her commitment to making sure we were raised properly, I became successful and happy. She also passed along her joy for singing, which helped me find a love for music. She is my daily inspiration.
Q Finish this sentence: If I had a million dollars …
A I would buy that 59 foot Carver and go to Key West
Q Divulge a guilty pleasure.
A Golf…and smoky single malt scotch!
Q What is your favorite saying?
A A bad day of fishing beats a good day at work any day!
Q Name up to three people you would love to meet.
A Bobby Knight, Sarah Palin and Scarlett Johansson
Organization: New Castle County Council
Position: Legislative aide
Tenure: 11 years
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