I've written to my state senator by email on several occasions. He has always responded for real and personally. I've had back and forth conversations with him and he is cordial and responsive. Of course, he's also on "our" side so it's a lot easier.
I wrote to Hillary Clinton when she was our US Senator, got a generic form letter response saying how glad she was that I wrote and that she'd look into my points and respond accordingly, more or less. Never heard another word.
Still happily answering to the call-sign Peetza.
The problem, as you so eloquently put it, is choice.
He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose.
-Jim Eliott, paraphrasing Philip Henry.