Defending Democracy with Informed Community Action in WNC

Talk to your Reps

“The art of living is to die young as late as possible.”

— William Sloane Coffin, Jr., Yale University Chaplin (1960s)

Talk to your Reps

Here are a few tips on talking to your NC Representatives.
[Excerpted from The Indivisible Guide]

Know who you’re talking to.

In general, the staffer who answers the phone will be an intern, a staff assistant, or some other very junior staffer in the MoC’s office. But you want to talk to the legislative staffer who covers the issue you’re calling about. There are two ways to do this:

If you’re directed to voicemail, follow up with email.

Then follow up again. Getting more-senior legislative staff on the phone is tough. The junior staffer will probably just tell you “I checked, and she’s not at her desk right now, but would you like to leave a voicemail?” Go ahead and leave a voicemail, but don’t expect a call back. Instead, after you leave that voicemail, follow up with an email to the staffer. If they still don’t respond, follow up again. If they still don’t respond, let the world know that the MoC’s office is dodging you.

Congressional emails are standardized, so even if the MoC’s office won’t divulge that information, you can probably guess it if you have the staffer’s first and last name.

  1. For the Senate, the formula is: StafferFirstName_StafferLastName@MoCLastName.senate.gov. For example, if Jane Doe works for Senator Roberts, her email address is likely “Jane_Doe@roberts.senate.gov”
  2. For the House, the formula is simpler:
    StafferFirstName.StafferLastName@mail.house.gov. For example, if Jane Doe works in the House, her email address is likely “Jane.Doe@mail.house.gov”

Keep a record of the conversation.

Take detailed notes on everything the staffer tells you. Direct quotes are great, and anything they tell you is public information that can be shared widely. Compare notes with the rest of your group, and identify any conflicts in what they’re telling constituents.

Use a sample script if necessary.

Check out these sample scripts from The Indivisible Guide. And check back often since they are always adding more.

Also share any particularly good scripts or strategies with us, and other feedback that might help us all communicate more effectively.