Prepare Ahead

Remember, members of Congress are extremely busy and a staff member, not the Representative or Senator, will usually receive incoming calls. If calling about a pending bill or other matter of public policy, identify the staff person in advance who has responsibility for the particular issue(s) of interest.  If calling to request constituent casework (attention to a personal matter), it is typically best to contact the Congress member's district or state office.

Use Your Congressperson's Website

This information is usually available online at the Congress member’s website. To find the correct telephone number for your congress, call the U.S. Capital Switchboard at 202-224-3121, option #1.

What to Do

Clearly identify yourself, record the date, time and name of the staff person you are speaking with, and briefly explain the nature of your call or the position you hold on a particular issue.  Refer to “Section I. Organizing Your Thoughts and Data” above.  If calling to request assistance, you will usually be connected to the staff person who handles similar types of issues or requests. When finished, you may ask for a written response to your phone call.

A Thank You Fax

Finally, you can really separate yourself from the volume of daily mail received in Congress by sending a short, hand-written “Thank You” fax to the Congress member for their support and efforts.  Don’t forget to mention the helpful assistance of the staff member, for they will likely do most the work, as well as open the mail.  More often than not, your appreciation will give them cause to go that extra mile on your behalf.

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