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Thursday, February 10, 2005

What Happens When You Contact Your Senator?

Good post today on DKos about the structure of a US Senator's office and the most effective way to contact them on pressing issues. Of interest:

1. Email is the least effective way if you really want to get your point across; it can get get lost in all the junk. Congressional offices will often issue passwords to trusted constituents, however, so if you're a regular you can make itl work for you.

2. Faxes, letters and phone calls are all treated about equally, although snail mail in the post-anthrax era can take up to 3 weeks to be screened and get through.

3. Each senator has a Legislative Assistant assigned to do research and inform the senator on a particular issue. Get the name and ask to speak with the LA assigned to the particular issue you're concerned about; if you are a constituent of the senator's, and you are persistent, eventually they will talk to you.

4. Show up at the senator's appearances. They will usually give you some time to make your case.

5. If your senator or rep is on a committee with jurisdiction on your pet issue, get to know the committee aide and email them directly.

6. Hit 'em where they drink -- find out where they do their boozing when in session.

7. While you are going to have a hard time getting through and having an impact with a particular senator if you are not a constituent, the exception is for house and senate leaders, whose constituency is more of a national one.

I've been meaning to call Dick Durbin's office and see what the status is of his plans to re-convene the Truman war profiteering committee, so for me this info arrived at the perfect time. More helpful tips here.