Calling an elected official might be easier for you than writing a letter. This is especially true if the vote for an important piece of legislation is imminent. With a little planning, a phone call can be an effective form of advocacy.
Dial 202/224-3121 for the Capitol switchboard. The switchboard can direct you to both senators and your district representative. Once a switchboard operator answers, ask to be connected to whomever you are trying to reach. You may also use the House phone list or the Senate phone list to find a direct line.
Once connected, a legislative assistant will answer the phone. Let the assistant know why you are calling and what issue you are calling about. Most often you will speak to a staff person who keeps track of how many people call and their positions on the issues. Your call counts even if you do not speak directly to your senator or representative.
Always best to call your own Senator and Representative, because they do want to hear from you—someone who lives in their district.
This also applies when wanting to connect with your State Senator or State Representative or City Council Members.
For Contact Information of your state elected representatives, check out the Open States Portal Here. For city council or county board representatives, look online for their website and contact them as directed.
How do you have a Productive Phone Call with an elected official or their staffer?
The Union of Concerned Scientists website has some useful information on how to make the most of your phone call with an elected official.
- Always let whomever you talk to know that you a constituent. Be sure to give them your full name, city and state.
- Be prepared. Write down what you want to say beforehand so that you don’t forget anything. Be sure to keep your call to one topic so that it is very clear where you stand on which issue.
- Know your facts. Describe the issue that concerns you and state your opinion.
- Be brief. Keep your call short.
- Be timely. If the vote is imminent, only call the Washington office or if it is a state rep, the Statehouse office of the elected official.
- Call the local office. If you are calling generally about an issue affecting your district or community, calling the local office can be a great way for the elected representative to become aware of the issue.
There are many ways to advocate with your elected officials. Calling maybe the right approach for you. Next time, advice on how to meet with your elected representative.
Be safe and have fun driving!