There are two things that all Democrats should be doing all the time right now, and they’re by far the most important things. You should NOT be bothering with online petitions or emailing.
#1. The best thing you can do to be heard and get your congressperson to pay attention is to have face-to-face time – if they have town halls, go to them. Go to their local offices. If you’re in DC, try to find a way to go to an event of theirs. Go to the “mobile offices” that their staff hold periodically (all these times are located on each congressperson’s website). When you go, ask questions. A lot of them. And push for answers. The louder and more vocal and present you can be at those the better. There are not many opportunities to do this in Northern Arizona. We will be posting notices when we know of such opportunities. Our Congressional offices and phone numbers are as follows:
Senator John McCain
2201 East Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85016
Main: (602) 952-2410
122 North Cortez Street
Prescott, AZ 86301
Main: (928) 445-0833
218 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Main: (202) 224-2235
Senator Jeff Flake
Senate Russell Office Building 413
Washington, D.C. 20510
2200 East Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85016
Representative Tom O’Halleron
126 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
405 N. Beaver Street
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
#2. But, those in-person events don’t happen every day. So, the absolute most important thing that people should be doing every day is calling. You should make 6 calls a day: 2 each (DC office and your local office) to your 2 Senators & your 1 Representative. See the phone numbers above!
Calls are what all the congress people pay attention to. Every single day, the Senior Staff and the Senator get a report of the 3 most-called-about topics for that day at each of their offices (in DC and local offices), and exactly how many people said what about each of those topics. They’re also sorted by zip code and area code. Historically, Republican callers have outnumbered Democrat callers 4-1, and when it’s a particular issue that single-issue-voters pay attention to (like gun control, or planned parenthood funding, etc…), it’s often closer to 11-1, and that’s recently pushed Republican congressmen on the fence to vote with the Republicans. In the last 8 years, Republicans have called, and Democrats haven’t. We have to change that.
When you call:
A) When calling the DC office, ask for the Staff member in charge of whatever you’re calling about (“Hi, I’d like to speak with the staffer in charge of Healthcare (or climate change, etc.), please”) – local offices won’t always have specific staffers, but they might. If you get transferred to that person, awesome. If you don’t, that’s ok – ask for the staffer’s name, and then just keep talking to whoever answered the phone. Don’t leave a message (unless the office doesn’t pick up at all – then you can…but it’s better to talk to the staffer who first answered than leave a message for the specific staffer in charge of your topic).
B) Give them your zip code. They won’t always ask for it, but make sure you give it to them, so they can mark it down. Extra points if you live in a zip code that traditionally votes for them, since they’ll want to make sure they get/keep your vote.
C) If you can make it personal, make it personal. “I voted for you in the last election and I’m worried/happy/whatever” or “I’m a teacher, and I am appalled by Betsy DeVos,” or “as a single mother” or “as a white, middle class woman,” or whatever.
D) Pick 1-2 specific things per day to focus on. Don’t go down a whole list – they’re figuring out what 1-2 topics to mark you down for on their lists. So, focus on 1-2 per day. Ideally something that will be voted on/taken up in the next few days, but it doesn’t really matter – even if there’s not a vote coming up in the next week, call anyway. It’s important that they just keep getting calls.
E) Be clear on what you want – “I’m disappointed that the Senator…” or “I want to thank the Senator for their vote on…” or “I want the Senator to know that voting in _____ way is the wrong decision for our state because…” Don’t leave any ambiguity.
F) They may get to know your voice/get sick of you – it doesn’t matter. The people answering the phones generally turn over every 6 weeks anyway, so even if they’re really sick of you, they’ll be gone in 6 weeks. And after all it is their job to listen to you.
G) From experience since the election: If you hate being on the phone & feel awkward (which is a lot of people) don’t worry about it – there are a bunch of scripts around (Indivisible has an example at the bottom on this link.) . After a few days of calling, it starts to feel a lot more natural. Put the 6 numbers in your phone (all under P – Politician) which makes it really easy to click down the list each day.
Today, I called to express my concern about the EPA website going dark on Climate Change. I’m sure that tomorrow there will be something else. We will be posting suggested actions on our Facebook Page — join us there.
Oh, and really, there is a third thing: Become involved with your local Democratic Party. The 2018 Election cycle starts NOW.