Resistbot is a pretty sweet little tool that takes messages you text and turns them into hard copies to send to Congress via fax or mail. Aside from a few tweaks as users get more experienced, that’s all there is to it–which means that if you hate making phone calls, it’s never been easier to share your thoughts with your representatives!
While we talk a lot about contacting our national representatives to fight big-name Trump and GOP appointments and policies, we shouldn’t forget the effect of bills coming through the states, everything from anti-trans bathroom bills to attempts to criminalize protest. I’ve tried to use my state legislature’s website for guidance on which Reps to call and when, but it seems simply not meant for that purpose.
Enter OurStates. OurStates can search by category and tell you exactly which bills on that subject are going through your state legislature right now. It’s new and still has relatively few categories; I expect we’ll see it expand over the coming weeks and months, so check back and keep making those calls!
How seriously those messages are taken by Congress varies widely, chiefly because, when it comes to interacting with the public, there’s really no such thing as Congress per se. There are five hundred and thirty-five small businesses that together form the legislative arm of government, and their way of dealing with constituents can differ as much as their politics…
…For constituent activity to have more immediate effects on the actions of lawmakers, however, other conditions—most of them necessary, none of them necessarily sufficient—must apply. Broadly speaking, these include a huge quantity of people acting in concert, an unusually high pitch of passion, a specific countervailing vision, and consistent press coverage unfavorable to sitting politicians. Together, these can create the most potent condition of all: the possibility (or, at any rate, the fear) that the collective restiveness could jeopardize reëlection.
Where on earth has your Member of Congress gone? Something strange has been happening in the last month or so: Members of Congress (MoCs) from all over the country are going missing. They’re still turning up for votes on Capitol Hill, and they’re still meeting with lobbyists and friendly audiences back home—but their public event schedules are mysteriously blank. Odd.
This is happening for a very simple reason: MoCs do not want to look weak or unpopular—and they know that Trump’s agenda is very, very unpopular. … Some MoCs have clearly made the calculation that they can lay low, avoid their constituents, and hope the current storm blows over. It’s your job to change that calculus.
The week of February 17-26 is the first district work period (“recess”) of the new Congress. Members of Congress (MoCs) will be back home holding public events and meeting with constituents. These meetings are a great opportunity for your group to remind your MoCs that they need to stand up for you—and that means standing up against the Trump agenda. Below are some tips on how to maximize this opportunity to influence your MoCs.
The report focuses on small decisions—ones where the senator or representative isn’t facing a lot of high profile pressure, and where they might be undecided or easily swayed. Decisions like those make up most of a congressperson’s work, the report says. While they might not be front page news, they can matter a lot to you as a citizen. And those issues are where citizens’ communications carry the most weight.
If you still want to talk to a staffer, remember that your congressperson has more than one office. In addition to a big office in Washington, DC, they will have several offices across their state or district. The DC office will employ staffers for various topics, but the local offices are just a few people. They’re also less busy. You’re a constituent if you live anywhere in the state (for senators) or the district (for representatives), so feel free to call any of the offices to get your message through.