Resistance Tips from Senators: How to contact reps, what to say, and understanding where they’re coming from

From Facebook. Unfortunately I can no longer find it to give credit to the author.

Had the opportunity to join a meeting with staffers from both my Senators today, here are some key takeaways that are helpful for everyone:

– EMAIL CAN BE JUST AS GOOD as calling staffers. If looking to get your name added to a tally, this is one way to do it. Also, a personal email (not form message) where you can share more rationale and/or a story is well received – see more about stories below. Calling still welcome and encouraged! (See thoughts about this below and in comments – for citizen purposes, keeping their lines full keeps the pressure on and should not be discounted)

– THEY DO TALLY CALLS/EMAILS and calling/emailing matters (gives them numbers and tools to take to GOP colleagues – e.g. When they get a big response on something, like DeVos, they can turn to GOPers to say “are you saying you received no calls on this?”). Can list names of people who support your message in email and they will count them all.

– YOU CAN JUST SAY SUPPORT/OPPOSE, don’t have to give them the background on candidates (e.g. DeVos’ qualifications or lack thereof), they know all of that and don’t need you to give it to them.

– PERSONAL STORIES MATTER: do include how you would be/are affected by nominees or legislation, they use these to craft legislation.

– THANK THE AIDES/INTERNS when you contact, they are overloaded and really appreciate the acknowledgement.

– CALLING COMMITTEE CHAIRS/RANKING MEMBERS is a good tactic for committees where you don’t have a rep.

– ALL CALLS ARE GOOD, everything contributes to the greater whole. Calling works, especially when trying to reach an opposing congressperson.

– CONSIDER THEIR GOALS and understand they might be pushing for delay if a vote, so can’t come out with a decision publicly while they are trying to do so. Also the same tactics aren’t possible in every committee (e.g. walking out on a vote). And they don’t all see things as fast as we do if they aren’t on that committee because they are full tilt with their own stuff, so it might take them a few days to see/catch up on it all and form a response.

– DEMS are humanist and like gov helping people, so they avoid things like gov shutdown because they understand, when they do, people suffer real consequences (e.g. SNAP benefits and housing vouchers stop, etc). They are feeling the “shut it down” sentiment and are passing it up the chain. They are also looking to do their best for their constituents on a case by case basis. They need to hear we will have their backs if they block it all.

– OUR BEST RECOURSE FOR THE ILLEGAL ACTIONS happening now are lawsuits and the courts. If you are harmed by an EO or other GOP action, get a lawyer and file. Their offices can help, too. Want impeachment? Start with the House.

– BETTER TO MAKE APPOINTMENTS than to just show up at offices. They want to talk with you, but aren’t always there.


pub. 02/2017

For more tips and resources, see the Resources lists, What to Do and What to Read.