Did you see the video of the “lifelong Republican” at the televised Paul Ryan town hall? In short, a man introduces himself as having volunteered for previous Republican presidential candidates and was livid about the passage of the ACA. Then he was diagnosed with a curable cancer but given six weeks to live without an insurance card. Guess what? He now loves Obamacare. He wanted to ask Ryan why Republicans would repeal something as good as the ACA without a replacement.
No surprise, Ryan had the typical detail-free explanation about how they’re going to make healthcare better. Nevertheless, he had to look someone in the face to have the discussion.
DO THAT. If you haven’t checked out the amazing resource, The Indivisible Guide, you absolutely should. It’s written by current staffers on Capitol Hill about how to best engage your members of Congress. Pay close attention to Chapter Four, which focuses on public events including Town Halls. Show up. Ask the questions. Demand the answers. Be that person that your member thinks of, “Ugh, I’m definitely going to hear from [YOUR NAME] about this again.”
“But when do I show up?” Most members go back to their home districts/states every week on Thursday or Friday, depending on the schedule. Additionally, the members are home for longer stretches during “district work periods” (Senate schedule, House schedule). During these times at home, they often have events ranging from town halls to tabling at local grocery stores. Follow your members on social media and sign up for their newsletters to learn about these events – and then show up!
One more thing – if you visit DC (my home!), in addition to scheduling your Capitol and White House tours through your members, find out when they hold in-office events. Many members host early morning coffees each week in their Capitol Hill offices to welcome their constituents to our nation’s capital. Show up!