From the moment I was elected in November 2010, one of my top priorities has been to ensure that every Floridian who needs my office's assistance is well-served to the best of our abilities.
On day one of my term, we had an experienced constituent service team in place ready to help people encountering problems with our dysfunctional federal government. Since then, we have assisted almost 20,000 Floridians with a wide range of issues.
Most have been seniors with a Social Security or Medicare issue, veterans and widows with a Veterans Affairs benefit that hasn't been properly processed, or taxpayers whose tax refunds are being held up at the Internal Revenue Service for some reason. Others come to us with visa and passport-related issues.
Some cases are fairly easy to resolve. Others are downright complex, may require professional legal counsel, or expose bigger problems that require legislation and regulatory changes to fix.
While most of these cases have come to our attention through email correspondence, calls to our statewide toll-free number (1-866-630-7106) and visits to any of our eight regional offices, we also recognize that not everyone has the means to come to us. That's why early in 2011, we started holding "Mobile Office Hours" -- so that my office could come to you.
At these events, my staff partners with local governments and organizations and is usually provided some temporary office space at city halls, chambers of commerce and community centers. For people who can't drive to our regional offices, this is a chance to meet with our caseworkers, face-to-face.
I know that sometimes, when speed is not of the essence, discussing sensitive information in person is preferable to calling our office. We respect that, and our Mobile Office Hours try to make it easier to do it.
So far, over my first three years in office, we have done 335 Mobile Office Hour events. Cases brought to us at these events have contributed to our office's overall handling of 19,247 cases, 17,286 of which have been closed.
With this new year underway, my staff is also preparing and looking forward to another year of Mobile Office Hours, including several this month. Please visit my website at rubio.senate.gov and sign up for my newsletter to receive the latest information on when my office is coming to your community. We are honored to serve you.