Prepare for A Visit
A face-to-face meeting with Congress or their staff member is the most effective way to share your message and create a positive working relationship with your elected official. Your representative and senators want to hear from you — "their constituent" — about important issues affecting the district, the state, and the country.
A trip to Washington, D.C. may not always be possible for their constituent, so members of Congress often return to their home districts to stay connected to their communities. This is a unique opportunity for you to engage your representative and senators. Don't know who your representative or senators are? Find them today!
Be a Stronger Advocate at Town Hall Meetings
|☐ Find a Meeting Near You- Use the Town Hall Project search tool to locate upcoming events.
|☐ Prepare for the Meeting
- Know the position of your member of Congress
- Search for your member of Congress on house.gov or senate.gov
- Visit their website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed to read their latest press releases, speeches, newsletters, and tweets
- Find out how they've voted recently and which issues they are following
- Prepare your questions. Include a brief background on why it is important to you. Make sure your questions are focused on a specific subject or piece of legislation. Avoid a long introductory statement, but be sure to share your name, town you live in, where you work, and what you do
- Be brief. Focus your attention on one or two questions. Practice asking those questions until you can get through each one in 25 seconds or less
| ☐ On the Day of the Meeting
- Arrive early
- Sign in if asked to do so
- Introduce yourself to the staff.
- Offer a business card or other info
- Ask if you need to sign up in advance to ask a question
- Sit in the front of the audience. If microphones are in the aisle, sit as close to the aisle as possible so you can quickly get to the microphone when it is time to ask questions
- Silence your cell phone and any other electronic devices
| ☐ Stay Engaged after the Meeting
- Share your business card to your member of Congress and his/her staff and ask how you can assist on these types of issues
- Share your experience on social media. All members of Congress are active on social media, including Facebook and Twitter.
- Send a tweet or post on their Facebook wall to repeat your message or thank them for addressing your concerns
District Visit Guide
|☐ Call your representative or senator's local office and ask to schedule a meeting.
- Visit the official website of your representative or senators that you would like to meet. There you will find their local offices and the one closest to you. You can call or show up in person to schedule a meeting. It is important to call as far in advance as possible, as members of Congress can have very busy schedules. See the House and Senate calendars for more information on this year's planned district/state work periods.
- Be flexible! If he or she is not available at the time of your request, ask when his or her next available appointment is. It is also perfectly acceptable to meet with a staff member instead.
☐ Prepare for the meeting.
- Learn about your legislator's background, such as their education, political party, and the congressional committees on which they serve. This kind of information can help you understand their view of the world
- Know your issue well enough to explain how it is affecting you and/or your family/friends
- Limit your agenda to one or two issues to help keep the meeting focused
|☐ Meet with you member of Congress or their staff.
- Start the meeting by introducing yourself
- Take a minute to explain who you are and what you do
- Concentrate on the issue that you came prepared to discuss. Why is this issue a problem for you? Who else is affected? Use personal stories to highlight your point, if you can
- Politely ask your lawmaker to do something specific
|☐ Say thank you and keep the momentum going.
- After the meeting is over, reach out to your legislator's office (by phone or email) to say thank you for taking the time to meet. This is an important gesture that will go a long way. You can use this opportunity to re-emphasize your points and provide additional information that was missing from your meeting
- If you are comfortable with Facebook or Twitter, send your legislator a quick Tweet or post to say thanks. They will appreciate the public display of gratitude