How to call your Representatives

Back to Article
Back to Article

How to call your Representatives

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The unique combination of ten numbers—an area code, the first three digits, and the following four—can connect citizens to food deliveries, social endeavors, and education services. Plummeting into the mix is access to a political presence, and Representative Mark Sanford estimates that his office alone receives hundreds to a thousand phone calls per day. As a representative, he is responsible for advocating for approximately 750,000 people in his congressional district, and he wants to hear from them.

“Our founding fathers believed that civil discourse was an important part of the equation,” he explained in a phone interview, later adding, “it’s very helpful to hear what somebody at home thinks.”

Robert pel-DeChame is a liberal individual who estimates he has made 1,000 calls to various representatives in his lifetime, beginning when he wrote a letter to President Johnson explaining how to win the Vietnam War at 8 years old. As a philanthropist working with nonprofit boards, calling representatives has become an integral component of his work.

“I was a member of nonprofit boards. I’ve called an awful lot of representatives and their staff on a lot of different issues,” pel-DeChame divulged. He later advised, “you really should come armed with some familiarity with the issue, and maybe a few facts and figures that you can offer if the opportunity arises.”

Heeding that advice is realtor Billy Simons, a conservative who is no stranger to calling representatives.

“I try to be polite and quick and to the point,” Simons explained. “I’ve been fairly pleased with my congressmen and both senators in the responses that I get back.” Simons also disclosed that he feels the practice of calling one’s representatives is more effective than voting.

“you really should come armed with some familiarity with the issue, and maybe a few facts and figures that you can offer if the opportunity arises.””

— pel-DeChame

Many call to voice support or oppositions to bills. To do so, one must first know the official name of the bill in question. Govtrack.us provides a guide. A recent bill, introduced on Jan. 5, 2017, that aims to protect patient access to emergency medications and is entitled H.R. 304. Other bills will be named similarly—H.R. followed by numbers. The next step is to research the potential repercussions or benefits of the bill, past examples of similar legislation from which conclusions can be drawn, statistics on the people the bill will impact, and other appropriate information. Then, one must narrow down the most appropriate person to call. Listed with a bill will be cosponsors (politicians supporting the bill), who can be called if one wishes to voice concern.

Another option is to find one’s representative for the congressional district and urge that representative to give his or her support or opposition. Once an individual is familiar with the bill, its official name, its contents, and who to call, a script should be written. Callers do not have to follow the script exactly, but jotting down some key talking points will help keep the conversation concise, productive, and respectful.

Calling representatives is an activity in which Democrats and Republicans alike partake. Citizens voice concerns because each person wants to see a better tomorrow for the U.S.A.. Conflicting perspectives on how to achieve that idealistic tomorrow is what brings about political parties and debate, but by having access to representatives, Americans can advocate for the morality they seek to legislate. To find a representative, visit www.house.gov/representatives/.

Ann Bailey
Print Friendly, PDF & Email