Congress is coming to you this week
This week, Congress is out of session, which means they’re at home to meet with their bosses. That’s you.
Town hall meetings are a hallmark of our democracy. And the absolute best way to influence your members of Congress is for them to hear from you – their constituent – face-to-face. In addition to sit-down meetings with policymakers, find a town hall near you, get your question ready, and be ready to be the first one with their hand in their air.
Here is your step-by-step guide:
- Find an event. Look up what’s happening in your community here.
- Go in a group to up your odds of getting called on.
- Get there early and spread out. Sit near the front or on an aisle where your member of Congress can see you.
- Plan your question. See below for how to ask your member of Congress to protect programs like SNAP and Medicaid. Or we can help.
When it’s time for questions:
- Get your hand up FIRST, FAST, and HIGH.
- Ask a direct but concise question that informs the audience and requires a direct response.
Before you leave:
- Work the rope line: Find the exit where your member of Congress will leave to introduce yourselves and follow up, or ask an unasked question.
- Find the media: journalists will likely be covering the event – use this as a chance to make sure your message is a part of the story (whether or not your question was asked publicly)
When it’s over:
- Send a follow-up: Email your member of Congress and their staff. Remind them that you were at the event and recap your question.
- Get ready to take the next step. As a part of our 100 Days strategy, RESULTS volunteers are setting up meetings with Congress all over the country. Join them.
So – what should you ask?
Right now some members of Congress are gearing up to gut some of the programs millions of Americans depend on, like Medicaid and SNAP. This is a key moment for making sure they don’t. Here’s a short laser talk you can use in your town hall:
Engage: Nearly 1 in 5 children in the U.S. live in households that are struggling against hunger. Studies show that children who are regularly hungry struggle in school, suffer from slowed and abnormal growth, and can develop anemia.
Problem: Yet leaders in the new Congress want to drastically change the structure of food assistance which could lead to millions falling deeper into poverty.
Illustrate or Inform: SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) is the first line of defense against hunger in America. The U.S. Census reports that SNAP lifted 4.6 million people above the poverty line in 2015. [Share your personal story if you can!]
Call to Action: Will you tell congressional leaders to safeguard SNAP from cuts or any structural changes that undermine its effectiveness and increase hunger in America?