Second in a Series of the Best Ways to Get What You Want from Elected Officials
About that issue, should I write/call/meet my Rep?
“What’s the best way to contact my Congressman or Senator about my concerns?” That’s a question everyone wants answered. Some say that you need to write a letter and mail it to be noticed. Others say an e-mail will simply be ignored.
So, what is the best way?
There’s no simple answer. Here is a list of the most common ways to contact your representatives:
Write a Letter: This requires less time than other methods, and it’s a good way to make the contact.
Call Your Representative’s Office: It’s hard to ignore an actual person. You are investing quite a bit of time and energy to make a call, and that will be understood by the staffer.
Meet with the Representative (or his/her staff): Taking the time to schedule an in-person meeting at your Rep’s office (either in DC or the district) will give your cause strength.
Maintain Regular Contact with Representative’s Office: If your issue happens every year (like the federal budget for science funding), then always mark the same day in your calendar to contact your representatives. They’ll take notice.
Get to Know Your Representative: This suggestion is extremely energy intensive and involves creating a working relationship with your representatives. It’s no small task, considering that elected officials meet hundreds of people a day! But, in terms of the influence, it is well worth it.
Now you’re probably saying, “I can’t meet with my Congressman on every issue.” And you’re right; you can’t. However, the point is to do something, to make the contact. If you only have five minutes to spare, then send that e-mail. If you have 20 minutes, pick up that phone. The most important thing to do is to do something.