When U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators are on recess they usually spend time in their home districts and states. Some have planned public events, like town halls, to hear from their constituents while others spend time in private meetings or working in their office. Here is how you can take advantage of town halls to get your advocacy message across:
- Check here to find a town hall or public event near you. If you cannot find a town hall or public event, call your representative’s district office and ask a staffer when they will be holding one.
- Do your research. Make sure to find out your representative’s stance on the issue that you are talking about ahead of time. If they don’t have much information available on the issue, see if they have made any public statements that pertain to your issue.
- Prepare for action:
- Ask colleagues, friends, or other interested people in your lab and community to join you. Email the event details or post them on social media to encourage others to attend.
- Prepare questions to ask at the town hall. Make sure that these questions are in layman’s terms so that representative and others at the town hall will understand.
- Prepare stories to share. The average person may not be familiar with your work or the science behind it, so a story can help make your work or the issue more accessible.
- Prepare to be brief. You won’t have a lot of time so you need to get right to the point.
- Show support for your Representative or Senator or others at the town hall if they say or do something that you agree with.
- Remain engaged in the issue after the town hall. Write a letter or place a call thanking the representative for holding the event and ask them to continue focusing on the issue that you addressed. If you weren’t given the opportunity to speak at the town hall, mention that you attended and then discuss your issue. Make sure to say that you will continue to monitor the issue in the future.
- Determine a Plan B. If your Representative or Senators are not holding public forums, call their district office to set up an in-person meeting. You can find out how to do that by clicking on the “Visit the District Office” box on the ASCB Advocacy page.
The ASCB has other “Be an Advocate for Science” how-to papers to help you be an advocate for science.