Calling lets legislators know what you (and the public in general) are thinking
May encourage legislators to take the action you want
Reassures legislators if they agree with you and are getting negative feedback
They are elected to serve us, so let them know what you want
One call is worth 50 emails because you are taking the time.
When to phone:
When an issue is “ripe”, such as when a vote is imminent
A letter takes considerable time to get through the inspection process and may take up to 2-3 weeks to be processed. When time is critical for an important decision/vote/event calling is immediate.
When legislators’ aides will not have time to read all the emails before an imminent vote/action
During their office hours (allow for time zone if calling D.C. – 2:00 Central is 3:00 Eastern)
How to prepare:
Find the name and number of the bill, and write it down. Every bill has a number
Every bill has a number
* S.R. means it is a Senate Resolution – Call your Senator about this one * H.R. means it is a House Resolution – Call your Representative about this one
Every bill also has a name
Make sure you know what’s in the bill and understand what it’s supposed to do.
Decide what you want the legislator to do (vote for/against the bill? co-sponsor?)
Think about why you want the legislator to take the action you are requesting
How will it affect you, personally? (Or family, or a friend)
How will it affect your local community?
Write this down, either as notes or as 1 or 2 sentences – no more.
How to call and be heard:
Call the D.C. or Austin office; keep trying if the line is busy
First, identify yourself: “Hello, my name is _________, and I live in ________. Could you get a message to ______?”
At this point aides will say something like, “Of course. What is your zip code?” They may possibly even ask for a street address. This is to verify that you are a constituent. Give the information asked for. Then the aide will say something like, “What message did you want to give to _______?”
Identify the issue first. “I’m calling about (name and number of the bill), and I think it is important because (give your reasons, referring to your notes if you need to).”
“I would like for ____ to _________.”
If you are told that _____ agrees with you, convey your thanks and support.
If you are told that ____ does not agree with you, express you disappointment courteously.
Don’t burn bridges; you may find them useful tomorrow.