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Senator Mark Allen Diagnoses Marital Problems of Consituents

8:30 AM EDT on July 20, 2011

District 4 senator Mark Allen made his money in the way most rich Oklahomans earned their wealth. He inherited an oil business. However, his true calling was probably to be an advice columnist.

In a story that has so far only been reported by KNWA in Fort Smith, Arkansas, Mark Allen received an email from one of his constituents requesting some specific reforms to child support collection laws. Here is the constituent correspondence verbatim (emphasis mine):

Subject: Child Support

Dear Senator Mark Allen,

I am a single parent of 2 boy's. I am so frustrated to find that there is little that I can do to insure that I get my child support each month. Law's must be changed concerning this matter. It doesn't seem fair that my son doesn't want to go to his father's house on the day's stated in our divorce paper's, yet.....the divorce paper's state that my x-husband's child support payment is due on the first of each month and is never sent on time, or not sent at all. The point I am trying to make, is that he can file "in contempt of court" if I do not send my son to him at the day's stated but, I can't file contempt of court when he doesn't pay his child support on the date stated. My utilitie's depend on this money. I always have to pay them late. I want to change the law's to where the x-spouse has to pay on time or have a late charge applied each day, as well as,if not payed on time, then the x-spouse does not get the child on their day's stated in the divorce papers. The x-spouse has no consequence's of late payment's or half payment's. Half payment's are allowed each month without consequences. Senator Allen, please have compassion on single parent's, and let me know what I can do to help. I failed to mention that my x-spouse and his wife have been going on vacation's and fun park's while my money due to my son and I is not being payed. I do want my son to have a relationship with his father, please do not misunderstand that. He is self-employed and didn't show everything on his tax statement's...therefore he took me to court and had his child support payment lowered. :(

Sincerely,

Stefanie Richmond :(

If your response when seeing that block of indented text was to skip to this sentence, or halfheartedly skim it while muttering "she's definitely on the rag," you may have a career in politics. Because that's exactly what Mark Allen did. He quickly fired back a response that consisted simply of:

"Oklahoma is actually pretty good on collecting child support thru DHS and the courts. I would contact your DHS office."

Being that the response did not address her concerns, Stefanie wrote back with a more succinct explanation of her concern. As an addendum, she chastised her senator for not reading the letter.

His response (sic'd)?

"No wonder your divorced with your hateful attitude."

When confronted with the exchange by an Arkansas news station, Allen was the opposite of contrite. He blamed Mrs. Richmond for a misleading subject heading and not putting her request in the very first sentence. In fairness, that is excellent technical writing advice from a man who does not know the difference between "your" and "you're."

As it turns out, there may have been something a little more sinister brewing behind Allen's lazy and short-tempered interaction with his constituent.

When Stefanie Richmond sent that email on June 28th of this year, she obviously had not done her research into Allen's stance on child support.

Just three months prior, SB653 failed in front of the senate. The bill, authored by Allen, did basically what Richmond wanted, except the exact opposite. During floor debate on the bill, Allen put it on the record that "the mother should be the one on the chopping block here."

So, I'm sure it was just her poor adherence to the AP stylebook that caused the senator to personally attack one of his voters.

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