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Future Hindsight is a weekly podcastthat takes big ideas in civic life and democracy and turns them into action items for everyday citizens.

May 25, 2019

Meet your Member of Congress

If a lawmaker has not yet made a firm decision on an issue, an in-person meeting has a ninety-four percent efficacy rate as an advocacy strategy. It’s important for constituents to connect a personal story to pertinent information of how proposed legislation will impact the local community. This is what the lawmaker wants to know. Showing up at town hall meetings is also an effective way to share the needs and concerns of the community to the member of Congress.

Congress works for us

Most members of Congress are decent people trying to do the best they can for their constituents. Engaging with them in a polite manner can be the best way for them to truly hear and understand the concerns of the people they represent. Congressional staffers are the unsung patriots of our democracy, who are dedicated to make the world a better place even though they often take a lot of grief on behalf of their members of Congress.

Virtual protest and dialogue

Virtual protest is one of the most effective ways to interact with members of Congress. After the lawmaker has made remarks on a specific issue, posting comments on Facebook or Twitter that pertain to that issue will be seen. Email petitions also work as long as they are personalized so that they don’t end up in a junk folder. Moderated online town hall meetings and telephone town hall calls are also good ways to dialogue with the elected representative. 

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Brad Fitch is the President & CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation. He has spent 25 years in Washington as a journalist, congressional aide, consultant, college instructor, Internet entrepreneur, and writer/researcher. He is the author of Citizen's Handbook to Influencing Elected Officials Opens a New Window. Click here to read CMF’s 2017 report, “Citizen Centric Advocacy: The Untapped Power of Constituent Engagement.” You can follow Brad on Twitter @bradfitch