Wednesday, June 14, 2017

How To Call Your Senator

One thing that you probably keep hearing is that you should call your elected officials. And yes, we understand that sounds a little bit scary. But honestly, it's easier than you think. Calling is the most powerful ways to put pressure on your representatives — even more than social media, email, or snail mail.

Why? It shows commitment to a cause. And representatives know that if they don't hear the concerns of their constituents, it could impact their ability to get reelected.
So, if you want to pick up the phone, we've laid down step-by-step instructions for calling your representatives. We even included a script!

Okay, to be honest, I don't know who my representative is.

Believe us, you're not alone. Many people don't know who their senators and representatives are. And that's okay.

You can go HERE and choose your state. It will list your Senators and their contact information.

Thanks! Now, how do I contact them?

The easiest thing is to call their offices directly. But if for some reason you are unable to do that, you also have the option of dialing 202-224-3121. This number will direct you to the Capitol switchboard. When you call, ask to be connected to your senator or representative. The operator will direct your call to their office.

Sounds good. What happens when I call?

A legislative assistant will answer the phone. They'll ask if you need a response, and it's better if you say you don't. That way they can tally you down without having to go through the extra step of adding you to a response database.
The most important part is to be clear about what issue you're calling about. Why you support or oppose certain legislation is irrelevant. The more people that call the representative's office, the less detail the assistants will write down. Getting straight to the point makes things easier for everyone — including those who are waiting for their phone calls to be picked up.
Here's an example of what you could say:
"Hello, my name is Jane Smith. I'm a constituent from Indiana, zip code ___. I don't need a response. I urge the Senator to –
·         Oppose any caps or block grants for Medicaid.  The House-bill “per capita caps” on federal Medicaid payments to states would leave states with much less money to provide care to children (and others).  These caps would be devastating for children with special health care needs [like my child] because states will forced to cut eligibility, services, and/or provider payments, reducing access to care. [Briefly explain how Medicaid helps your child and family and what would happen if those benefits went away.]
 ·         Oppose changes that would weaken insurance benefits and protections for people with pre-existing conditions and high medical expenses. [Briefly explain what would happen to your child and family if you were no longer protected by the ACA’s ban on annual and lifetime limits, or could not find an affordable plan that offered the benefits your child needs.]
Thank you for your hard work. (edit by Family Voices Indiana)
Pretty easy, right?

Awesome! Is there anything else I should know?

Yes. Call only your representatives! Maybe you really, really want to yell at House Speaker Paul Ryan or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but please don't call the people that don't represent you. Unless you can provide a zip code that proves you're a constituent, your call will be pretty much ignored and not tallied down. This will also help create a backlog of calls coming from constituents from that district, and we want to make sure their concerns are heard.
If you stick to calling only your representatives, and keep it short and direct, it's better for everyone. That way the office will answer more calls, which translates into more people being heard. In the end, the bigger the total number of callers, the more your representatives need to pay attention.
This story was originally published here:

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