How to contact elected officials in the United States, why and what to say
As you live in the United States, you probably hear a lot about calling elected officials. Yes, that sounds a little scary. But this is easier than you think. Calls are the most powerful way to influence your reps - more than social media, email, or regular mail, writes Refinery29.
Why? It shows commitment. And representatives know that failing to hear the concerns of their constituents could impact their ability to be re-elected.
How to contact them?
Several important contacts with elected leaders at federal, regional and local levels invite you to learn USA.gov... For example, you can contact US President Joe Biden online or by calling the White House switchboard at 202-456-1414 or by calling 202-456-1111 for comments during business hours.
Do you know who your representative is? Trust me, you are not alone. Many people don't know, and that's okay! You can go here or here and enter your zip code or state; the site will tell you who your elected officials are.
Find your mayor by name, city or population on this site.
Find your county chief executive by using a map or zip code search at this link... His office can be elective or appointed.
Get contact information for your city, county and city officials here.
The easiest way is to call the offices directly. But if for some reason you cannot do this, you can also dial 202-224-3121. This number will direct you to the Capitol switchboard. When you call, ask to be contacted by your Senator or Representative. The operator will direct your call to the desired office.
The legislator's assistant will answer phone calls. He will ask if you need an answer, and it’s better if you say no. This way, your call can be counted without having to go through the extra step of adding you to the response database.
What to say?
The most important part is to be clear about what issue you are calling. It doesn't matter why you support or oppose a certain law. The more people call the representative's office, the less details the assistants will write down. Going straight to the point makes things easier for everyone, including those waiting for a call.
Here's an example of what you could say, modeled on a post from Facebook user Mark Jahnke, who used to do this job on Capitol Hill:
“Hello, my name is Jane Smith. I'm a voter from New York, zip code 10001. I don't need an answer. I am concerned about a partial government shutdown and strongly recommend that the Senator vote on a funding package that addresses this situation. Thanks for your work!"
If you are shy, tools like 5 Calls can help. You just need to provide your zip code, select the issue you are interested in, and 5 Calls will provide you with a script to read.
You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New York
Important: call only your representatives!
Maybe you really want to speak with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but please don't call people who don't represent you.
If you do not provide the zip code confirming your participation, your call will most likely be ignored and not counted. It will also contribute to the accumulation of calls from voters in this district, and the authorities want to make sure that these people are heard.
Calling only your representatives and being short and direct is best for everyone. Thus, the office will answer more calls and be able to hear more people. After all, the higher the total number of callers, the more attention your representatives will get.
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