It’s the August Recess and your Representatives and Senators are back home from DC. Now is the perfect time to set up a meeting with them to discuss Pledge to Amend! https://movetoamend.org/pledge-amend
Schedule Your Meeting(s)
Expect it to take about 2-3 weeks to land your meeting. Note that many offices will not confirm a meeting until 1 week out. Your Representative(s) should be available for most of the month of August so that might be a good time to plan to set up your meeting, when they are in District.
Our suggestion is that you try to meet with both your House member, to secure co-sponsorship of House Joint Resolution 48, and also meet with your Senators since our goal is to get the amendment introduced in the Senate this year too.
Appointments may either be made by emailing the legislator’s scheduling person, or by phone. Every office differs in their preferred scheduling process, so please check with them to determine which process to use. Be sure to be persistent if you don't get a response, and don't just rely on email alone!
You can find contact information (including phone numbers) for congressional offices at www.senate.gov or www.house.gov. You can find the websites for each state’s legislatures at www.thomas.loc.gov/home/state-legislatures.html. To find out what districts you live in, go to https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/map.
Tips for before the call
Be sure to review our Lobby Guide.
Start calling as soon as possible to request a meeting ahead of time.
Don’t just show up at their office unannounced.
Before you call, be prepared to discuss your issue and why it is important to meet.
Meetings with staffers can be almost as important as meeting with the elected official.
- Obtaining a meeting may be a long and difficult process. Don't give up!
Tips for during the call
Introduce yourself as a constituent.
Explain the issue you would like to discuss and request to meet with the elected official.
If someone in your group knows the elected official personally or professionally, make sure that the scheduler is aware of the relationship.
Ask what hours of the day he/she will be available and request a meeting at that time.
- If there is no chance of meeting with your official, request to meet with a staff member.
Tips for after the call
A day or two before the meeting, call the official’s office to confirm your appointment.
Be sure to arrive to your meeting early.
Wear the proper attire and bring the appropriate materials.
At the meeting, be polite and respectful.
- Report back to Move to Amend with the results of your meeting.
“Hello, my name is [name] from Move to Amend. May I please speak to the in-District scheduler?” (Write down the scheduler’s name. Be sure to get the correct spelling.)
“I am a constituent of Representative / Senator [NAME] and I would like to schedule a meeting with Representative / Senator [NAME] and/or her/his Legislative staff person the next time [she/he] is in District. I'd like to discuss the We the People Amendment (currently House Joint Resolution 48) and the importance of addressing the problem of big money in elections and corporate influence over the political and legal process."
"May we do this on the phone, or would you prefer an email or fax?”
At this point, you may either continue, or take down the email address. Although you should make every effort to get a meeting with the legislator, many times you will be referred to the appropriate staff person, e.g., the one who handles legislative or government affairs issues.
If you are able to continue on the phone, let the scheduler know who is coming:
“At this time, the following people will be attending: [list names and affiliations].
Note: You may have to contact the office several times before someone returns your call or confirms an appointment. Be persistent and proactive—you are calling as a voting constituent!
Dear [Name of Scheduler],
Volunteers with the national Move to Amend campaign would very much appreciate a meeting with [Senator]/[Representative] [Name] the next time [she/he] is in District and/or [his]/[her] Legislative staff person to discuss the We the People Amendment (currently House Joint Resolution 48) and the importance of addressing the problem of big money in elections and corporate influence over the political and legal process.
Among attendees will be [Insert names of participants from the Rep’s home state and their towns]. There may be others at the meeting as well, but I am unable to confirm the names at this time.
Thank you so much for your consideration of our request.
Become acquainted with what you will be asking for. Check out these resources:
- We the People Amendment (House Joint Resolution 48)
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Talking Points
- Amendment Comparison
- Why Abolish All Corporate Constitutional Rights
Practice telling your story. We encourage you to practice telling your story in advance to increase confidence for your meetings.
Learn more about your Senators and Representatives. It is helpful to familiarize yourself with your members’ priorities and views by visiting their websites at www.senate.gov or www.house.gov. Also check to see if they have co-sponsored any of the competing amendment resolutions.
Be prepared to meet with your legislator’s legislative assistant. Your legislator may not attend the meeting. Staff may be young, but they are instrumental in shaping the legislator’s views. It is not unusual for the legislator to defer to his/her staff for an opinion on your issue. It is important to demonstrate respect to everyone you encounter during your visit.
Bring contact information. A business card from work, or a 2 x 3.5 inch card you print yourself, should contain your name, address and email information.
Plan to dress appropriately. Please wear clean and appropriate professional attire (suits, dress pants; shirts with ties; dresses; skirts and blouses; etc.) for your meetings with lawmakers. No jeans, sandals, flip flops or printed tee shirts.
Visit as a group if possible. The leader should start and conclude the meeting. One group member must take notes and report back the details of each meeting. Make sure you assign this task in your group before you are at the visit!
The constituents are most important. The legislators’ primary concern is whether you can elect him or her into office. If you live in the district you are important. The spokesperson should begin the meeting by identifying himself/herself as a constituent and introducing all participants, and briefly identify your request early in case time runs short.
Cover the priority issue. Now is the time you’ve been waiting for! Tell your story, and explain why passing the We the People Amendment is important to you. Make your remarks brief and to the point. Encourage them to learn more and do more.
Stay on topic. Be careful: a little chit-chat is acceptable, but be sure to stay on topic and not be drawn into storytelling—you’ll never know where the time went! Be concise and stick to the issue at hand, but do not rush the conversation. Don’t make statements that assume that others share your political views and be respectful when talking about all political leaders.
Solicit the legislator’s views on this issue. Review your request and do some research on your legislator. Has your legislator taken the Pledge to Amend? Have they endorsed other amendment measures? If they have shown support for similar measures thank them appropriately and encourage them to sign on to the We the People Amendment. If there is disagreement, avoid arguing with your legislator or their staff. Listen to his/her perspective and then present your views. You will enhance your effectiveness if you can demonstrate a willingness to participate in a friendly exchange of ideas.
Record the questions and responses of your legislator and their staff using the Reporting Form (when the meeting is over you'll want to copy these notes into our online reporting form - this is really important for follow up!)
Conclude your meeting. Make sure your legislator and/or staff has a copy of the briefing information and your primary contact information. Thank them for their time and offer to be a resource to them going forward.
Take a picture! Especially if you are a group, take your picture with your legislator or their staffer -- this is a historic day!
--> As soon as the meeting is over, please fill out the Online Reporting Form to let us know the results of the meeting.
Thank Yous. Send a thank you letter to your Legislator or their staffer following the meeting. Thank the legislator and/or staff person for their time and reiterate your “ask” that they co-sponsor HJR 48. Put this letter in the mail as soon as you get home or mail it before you leave. [Example coming soon!]
Meeting Report Back Forms. The note taker should fill out this form ASAP after the meeting while the details are fresh in your mind. Use the notes from your printed report form(s) to file the online report so the details of your visit are recorded in the Move to Amend database.
Follow Up. One of the most important aspects of a lobby day is the follow up.
It will also be important to follow up a month or 6 weeks later if your legislator or their staff person did not give you a clear answer, or gave you a positive answer but then did not follow through with their commitment. Whether this is done by phone or email, or even another in person visit, the staffer and legislator will know you are serious if you follow up. Always be friendly and professional, and offer to provide additional information if it will help them to make a decision.
We recommend you put together a folder with the following printed materials to leave with the legislator or staffer (ideally both -- bring a couple copies in case you meet with both staff and the Representative):
- We the People Amendment Language
- List of Current Co-Sponsors
- Dear Colleague Letter from Lead Sponsor Rick Nolan
- Corporate Personhood Talking Points
- Why Non Profit Corporations Do Not Need (or Have) Constitutional Rights
- Talking Points for Conservatives
List of Move to Amend Petition Signers in Congressional District (This information can be provided by MTA National by request if we have enough notice)
- If you need this information, please provide ALL zip codes in their district at least ONE WEEK in advance to compile a list of names. Click here to search your congressional district.
- We will send you a PDF and you will need to print it -- please note this could be hundreds of pages. Let us know well in advance if you see the printing as being problematic for you.
Citizen Lobbying Resources
- How to Get Your Reps to Co-Sponsor HJR 48 (webinar)
- Lobbying Tips and Hints from Jim Price (conference call trainer)
- Lobbying information in Move to Amend's Take Action Toolkit