Especially when legislation is moving quickly, placing a phone call to your legislator is the best way to make your voice heard. Before making a call, write out what you want to say. A call typically goes like this:
- Identify yourself as a constituent and a member of your affiliated organization. If you are not a constituent, be prepared to explain why you are calling and how the issue impacts you.
- Indicate what issue/bill you are calling about and request to either speak with the legislative aide who handles that issue/bill or to leave a message for the legislator. Know the issue and the bill number, if one is available.
- Briefly provide reasons for your support or opposition of the issue/bill.
- Ask where the member stands on the issue. You may also ask for a written reply or a return phone call from staff.
- Thank the staff member for his or her time.
Phone numbers can be found on the legislator's personal website or simply call the Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121 and it will direct your call to the appropriate office.
Below is a sample call:
Staffer: Representative Smith’s office, how may I help you?
YOU: Hi, my name is [NAME] from [CITY] in the [Representative’s district/Senator's state]. I’m calling about [state the issue; for example, "the need to protect funding for multiple sclerosis research].
Staffer: Thank you for calling. What bill number are you referring to?
YOU: This is an appropriations issue. Please tell the [Representative/Senator] to [state your request; for example: protect funding for MS research through the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) and at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).] This is important to me because [state why; for example: I live with multiple sclerosis and research funding both through the CDMRP and the NIH helps us better MS, develop more and better treatments that modify the disease course and manage MS symptoms and will one day, help us find a cure.]
Staffer: I'll convey your message.
YOU: Do you know where the [Representative/Senator] stands on [the issue; for example: MS research funding]?
Staffer: The Senator has long been supportive of MS research funding.
YOU: Please tell the [Representative/Senator] thank you and to please continue supporting [the issue; for example: MS research funding].
Staffer: I will. Thank you for calling.