I’ve complained about the challenges of living in Washington, DC and trying to participate in our federal legislative process. And we’ve heard you guys complain about the challenges of getting your members of Congress to actually listen to you at town halls or just answering calls. Some local DC residents inspired me to throw out an idea.

“We’re here from D.C., and we don’t have our own senators,” Remes pointedly told a smiling receptionist [in Sen. Lindsey Graham’s DC Senate office]. “But we have some friends who have written some nice cards and letters . . .” She turned to Isaac, who presented a sheaf adorned with rainbow flags and smiling faces of all colors, handmade by friends in South Carolina.

“The gist of them is that we are all so happy to see Senator Graham’s comments on refugees,” Remes added, “and we’d love to see some votes to back that up.”

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Remes and her son. Photo by Matt McClain/Washington Post

Consider me your personal Congressional courier. I will hand deliver your postcards, letters, and verbal messages to Congressional offices here on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

Accountability matters and your members need to know they cannot escape the fact that they are here in DC to serve you, their constituents. Way back when I was a staffer, we would always say that the constituents were our boss. Somehow over the years, many of the members (more than 200!) have forgotten how they actually made it to Congress. Let’s remind them!

So now what?

Interested in sending mail to your MOCs via me, your Congressional courier? Send an email to fiveminutesaction@gmail.com, and I’ll respond with the address to which you can send your mail.

screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-10-19-17-pmWhat makes an effective piece of mail? Short, sweet, to the point – and personalized. Much like your calls, topics are tallied and numbers shared with boss if they reach a certain threshold. Multi-part letters often receive a response to the easiest part, so focusing on one issue is the best tactic. While scripts work well for making calls, form letters are not taken seriously at all. Many offices count all of the form letters as  one contact in the tally (and all of those forms will receive an identical response).

And remember, as a wise 12-year-old shared through the immigration rights project We Belong Together, “Every little letter counts towards the big picture, no matter how small you might feel.”

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And in the case of Rep. Jason Chaffetz, DC’s #1 Superfan, the big picture is to make sure he handles the important issues. Photo by Emily Pearl Goodstein.

Top photo by Instagram user longfellowscambridge

Middle photo/activism, Instagram user dancingrain19