Even if you don’t go to Washington, DC you can still meet with your federal government leaders, and you can always meet with your state and local elected officials. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Congressional offices are also more willing to hold video meetings.

If you are not sure who your federal representatives are, the “Contact Your Member” section of www.congress.org will direct you to your representatives’ webpages. The locations and contact information of each member’s local offices can be found on their websites.

Meetings with elected officials can take many forms:

Virtual: Many Congressional offices are conducting virtual office appointments. The ASCB Advocacy Toolbox has a fact sheet with tips and suggestions for scheduling and holding a virtual office appointment with your federal representative.

Meetings at local offices: Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have offices in their districts and states. These offices offer convenient locations for meetings with your representatives and their staff. The ASCB Advocacy Toolbox has a fact sheet with suggestions on how to arrange and prepare for the meeting as well as suggestions for what to do during and after the meeting.

Meetings with Local Officials

The same general guidance applies for meetings at the state and local government level. Keep in mind that state and local governments do not directly support research (so you don’t need to thank them) but they may support your institution.

Give a Tour of Your Lab

An excellent way to advocate on behalf of science is to invite your representative to visit your lab. A tour of your laboratory can introduce them to the important federally-funded biomedical research being done by their constituents. Most public officials have never been in a scientific laboratory and do not understand what is done there and how this work depends on federal funding.

The ASCB Advocacy Toolbox includes a three step guide to arranging and hosting one of your elected officials in your lab. The guide focuses on members of Congress but is useful for all elected officials.

You can also read the experiences of Deepali Bhandari and Denise Montell, who invited their representatives to their labs.