Representatives and Senators are in their district office as much as they are in Washington. They are taking their summer break and will not return until after Labor Day. When they are in their district office is a great time for you to make an impact on your legislators by putting a face on childhood cancer and showing how all children, adolescents and young adults can benefit from current and proposed legislative initiatives.
Every Representative and Senator has one or more offices back home in their district to serve the people they represent in Washington. These local offices are often great places to meet your legislators and their staffs in person. Most Representatives are very eager to talk to as many of their constituents as possible about their concerns.
Here’s some quick and easy tips on how to schedule a visit and make a successful presentation of why their support is so important to our children in the fight against childhood cancer.
Schedule an appointment. You can write and request a district meeting or you can simply call. To insure that you will be able to meet with your Representative, check the dates available at the bottom of this page and call well in advance. To contact your legislator’s office, click below and enter your zip code. Click here for House Representative information. Click here for Senator information. Tell the staff person you want to schedule a district meeting and which office would be best for your location.
Explain the purpose of your meeting. Tell the scheduler that you would like to discuss several bills (or pick your most important one) in Congress that will have an effect on childhood cancer.
Tell your child’s story. When you go to the district meeting, tell your personal story, show a photo or take your child wth you and demonstrate why improved drug development would have helped your child. There have only been three drugs developed specifically for childhood cancers while adults have hundreds..
Print out materials to leave behind. Take a one page Executive Summary with a concise and clear explanation of your bill and why it is needed so badly. The one pager should be used as the outline of you presentation. Take additional supporting evidence of the important points of your presentation if it would be helpful. Show a list of supporting childhood cancer advocacy organizations that also support your bill.
Ask for their commitment. Ask them to be a cosponsor to the bill you are promoting to improve outcomes for children with cancer.
Remember that you may not be able to speak with the Senator or Congressman/woman and you should treat their staff person with the same respect you would if you were meeting the official directly.
Here is a handy guide to know when your Representative and Senators are going to be back home. Blue=Senate only in session, Green=House only in session, the days that are Not Highlighted are the days they will not be in their Washington, DC office.
Author: Joe Baber