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Telling Congress About the Issues You Care About In 3 Easy Steps

Submitted by Jason Pell on Fri, 07/03/2020 - 8:00 AM
a wide shot od the U.S. capitol building.

The 4th of July is just around the corner! This year, why not celebrate your patriotism by contacting your representatives in Congress and telling them about an issue that you care about? Contacting your representatives can be confusing at first but here’s 3 easy steps to get started.

  1. Find out who your Congressional representatives are.
    1. For your senators, just enter your state into the U.S. Senate Directory
    2. For you Representative in the House, enter your zip code or address in the House’s "Find Your Representative Page”
  2. Give them a call (or email).
  3. Tell them about an issue that is important to you.

Sounds easy, right? I gave it a try to find out. Each state only has two members in the Senate so I knew California’s Senators were Diane Feinstein and Kamala Harris but California has 53 representatives in the House! To be honest, I had no idea who my representative in the House was until I looked it up.

Once I knew who my congress people were, it was time to call them... the hard part. I’m really not into talking on the phone but I thought a phone call would be more personal than an email. To help myself get over my awkwardness, I wrote a script for myself of what I wanted to say. Here’s a template I used but you can always make your own.

"Hello, my name is ________. I'm a constituent from California, zip code ________. I am concerned about _______________ and I strongly encourage your office to ____________. Thank you for all your hard work!"

And that was it! It was a new feeling but not too hard to do... Just kidding, I really needed to psyche myself up to willingly make phone calls to three strangers. That part was hard work.

If talking on the phone makes you shudder like me, you can always use email or if you want to get even more involved, you can host a virtual “call in” with your friends and family. Just invite a group of your friends to video call, help them find their representatives, come up with a script together, and then ask them to mute themselves while they call their representatives. Making phone calls is a lot less intimidating if you have allies, and then you can all celebrate together afterwards!

You don’t need to stop with Congress, you can also contact your local and state governments about the issues you care about. To learn more about the state, local, and federal government, including how to contact your representatives in local state, county, and city governments, you can visit the library's Government Resources page.

Don’t forget that members of Congress in both houses are elected by popular vote, so be sure that you are registered to vote. For more information on politics and voting, you can visit the Elections, Voting, and Politics Resources Page.

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