© Juanmonino / Getty Images
June 22, 2017

In the flood of post-election activism, many Americans have been reaching out to their legislators only to find = that getting their voice heard isn’t as easy as democracy might have us believe: As Utah resident Julia Silge found out, not only can phone calls go unanswered, in the case of her senator, Orrin Hatch, sometimes you can’t even leave a message because voicemail boxes are full. So Silge decided to think inside the box… the pizza box.

Determined to get her message opposing Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos through after repeated failed phone calls, Silge decided to try the unorthodox method of ordering a pizza to Senator Hatch’s office that included a special message as part of the “special instructions.” Along with her 12-inch ham and pineapple pizza ordered via GrubHub, Silge requested the pizza shop “attach the following note: ‘From a Salt Lake constituent in 84105: Please vote NO on Betsy DeVos. She is an inappropriate choice to lead our public schools.” She also reportedly tossed in $10 tip to sweeten the deal.

Though the idea itself is worth a chuckle, things got more interesting when the restaurant actually attempted to deliver the pizza. As any well-trained politician’s staff should probably do, Senator Hatch’s office rejected the pizza from an unknown source and reported the incident to the police. Using her name and number from the order’s receipt, a federal security officer then called Silge about this “suspicious pizza” as the officer called it. “I definitely had a sinking feeling in my stomach,” Silge said according to the Salt Lake City Tribune. “At this point, I'm starting to realize this was maybe not my best thought-out plan.”

In the end, however, everything seemed to work out for the best. Despite the pizza being classified as “suspicious,” Silge wasn’t charged with any crime. And even though the pie landed in the trash, Silge’s story went viral enough on Twitter that Hatch’s office took notice anyway. “We appreciate all creative efforts to reach Senator Hatch, particularly as we deal with a large volume of out-of-state callers that are preventing Utah constituents from reaching us,” the senator’s office said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the pizza did not make it through security screening because the office had not ordered it.”

Given all the blowback over the DeVos nomination maybe they should think about vetting cabinet secretaries as carefully as pizzas.

UPDATE: The pizza doesn't seem to have had much effect though as Senator Hatch voted to confirm DeVos.

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