Getting a face-to-face meeting with your Congressional member can be difficult, and will most likely result in a meeting with a Congressional aide. To schedule a meeting with your Member of Congress, call the district office where you would like to meet. The office may ask you to send a request in writing, be specific about what you want (a personal meeting) and what you would like to discuss (The Endangered Species Act). Be persistent in following up with your request.
Basic introductions should be made at the beginning of your meeting, and should include a positive note, such as something you’ve enjoyed about their work.
- “Hi, my name is [first, last name] and I’d like to thank you for taking the time to meet with me. I admire your work on [project]/I appreciate your vote on [bill number].”
Additional talking points should be clear and organized to represent your concerns on a particular topic.
- For House Representatives
- “Several bills have been introduced, such as H.R. 717, which are designed to amend the Endangered Species Act. What is your boss doing to protect endangered species?”
- “I would like your boss to oppose H.R. 717 since its passage would allow lawmakers to consider the economic costs associated with listing a certain species, which are likely to be high and undesirable.”
- “I am afraid amendments to the ESA will impact [cite specific endangered species] which are found/have habitat within our own district.”
- For Senators
- “There are attempts to amend the ESA. What is your boss doing to protect endangered species?”
- “I am concerned about legislation that would weaken the ESA. I hope your boss will oppose any that do so.”
- “I am interested because our state has [cite specific endangered species] and protecting them and their habitat provides so many benefits to the ecosystem and to the people within our state.
Remember to stay polite and respectful, even when you and your Member of Congress or their Congressional aide seem to disagree on something.
- “I see your position and understand the pressures you’re facing, but I am still concerned for the impacts this will have on our district/state.”
At the end of the meeting, thank them for their time. Send a written thank you via email to their office in the days following the meeting with any additional information they may want, or any additional information they have promised.
- “[Name of staffer with whom you met], thank you again for taking the time to meet with me. I hope you take my concerns into consideration as this legislation moves forward and vote in the best interest of our district and endangered species.”
- “I promised to follow up with your office with any additional information that you’ve requested [be specific if relevant]/I will check in with your office at a later date concerning any information that I have requested [be specific if relevant].”