Contacting Congress

As an outdoors person, I’m greatly concerned about a new House Bill that encourages the government to sell 3.3 million acres of public land.

If you’re moved to reach out to Congress on a particular issue, here is advice from an insider: call the local office. Don’t email or Tweet, and don’t call the D.C. office. Here is the logic, which I found online:

I see a lot of you saying that you’ve written to your Congressmen about this and I wanted to let you know that emails and letters to Congress are rather useless in changing their minds on policy issues.

If you really want to make a difference you need to make an actual phone call. It’s best to call the local state offices, not the ones in D.C. Letters and email are generally just glanced at for certain keywords to let the person know what issue you’re writing about, then you’re usually sent a form letter reply (for emails this is actually done with computer algorithms). With most Congressmen, Senators especially, they just get too many letters and emails to really take in the substance of the concerns.

Phone calls actually tie up a person for the entire duration of the call, which if you take the time to explain yourself can be quite a while. And if the Congressman walks through the phone room while all the interns are on calls and the phone is still ringing, they’ll know something big is up.

The offices in D.C. mostly just have interns and very low level staffers answering the phones, because that’s the office that most people call. If you call one of the local offices, you’re more likely to get someone other than an intern, and they’ll be better positioned to push your message. If enough people keep calling a local office, there’s a good chance you can tie up the staff on the phones for much of the day, and you can be sure the Congressman will hear about that.


Leave a Reply