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Opinion

How To Contact Your Senator or Representative

March 1, 2019

Sandy Springs, Georgia, United States

Now that our 116th Congress is in session, it’s always important that we take the opportunity to voice our concerns and connect with our representatives.. Yes, it may sound daunting, but it is easier than you think. Calling is the one of the most influential ways to hold your elected officials accountable - even more than social media, email, or letters.

Why? It shows that you are committed to fighting for what you believe. And if representatives don’t hear the concerns of their constituents, their impact while in office is lessened.

So, if you want to pick up the phone, here are some step by step instructions to get it rolling! Plus, there is also a script! But if you prefer email or letter, then go for it!

I don’t know who my representative is

To be honest with you, a lot of people don’t, and that’s okay! You can go here or here to input your zip code and state. It will then give you the names of your elected officials. Once you know who they are, you can find their contact information here and here.

Now that I have their information, how exactly do I contact them?

The easiest thing to do is to call their offices directly.  If you are unable to do that, you can try the option of dialing 202-224-3121, which will direct you to the Capitol switchboard. When you call, ask to be connected to your senator or representative. The operator will direct your call to their office.

What exactly happens when I call?

A legislative assistant will answer the phone. They’ll ask if you need a response you can say yes or no. If you choose to say yes they will have an extra step where they  add your response into a database.

The most important thing is to be clear about what issue you are calling about.  The more people that call the elected official’s office, the less detail an assistant will write down. Getting straight on the topic makes the call much clearer for them.

Here is an example of what you could say:

“Hello, my name is Jane Smith. I’m a constituent from Georgia, zip code 10001. I don’t need a response. I am in support of expanded background checks for gun purchases. I strongly encourage the senator/representative to please support any type of legislation regarding this matter. Thank you for your hard work!”

Is there anything else I should know?

Stick to calling your senators or representatives.

If you stick to calling only your senators or representatives and keep it short and direct, it's better for everyone. That way the office will answer more calls, which translates into more people being heard. In the end, the bigger the total number of callers, the more your representatives need to pay attention.

If you’re shy, tools such as 5calls.org make it so easy to call your elected officials. It provides details on issues that you care about, as well as a script. Another tool, Resistbot (resist.bot), makes it easier to write letters to the people who represent you in Congress, as well as your statewide elected officials.

This path was paved for you, so don’t take it for granted. We are the game changers of the next generation. We are part of history, and it’s up for us to decide what to do with the fight for our rights. If not now, when? And if not us, then who?

Perri Schwartz is a BBG who hails from B’yachad BBG #2495 in Greater Atlanta Region. She loves history, news, and politics, and plans on being a journalist in the future.

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