Advocacy 101 by Allison Kilcoyne
Have you called Washington DC lately? Do you know your US Representative in Congress? Do you know your Senator’s health care legislative aide? If not, now it is time. Today.
There has been much talk about getting our voices heard. Facebook groups, marches, signing petitions online, writing emails – that is helpful. What is more powerful is developing a personal relationship with our elected officials and their legislative aides. Find that scary? Intimidating? Or do you say to yourself “what is the point, we have it pretty good here in Massachusetts.” Here are some of my thoughts having been to Capitol Hill many times over the past few years.
Our elected officials are OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS. They work for us. They want to know our story.
Phone calls to legislative offices (DC or district) do not need to be long. They log in your request and your zip code. The number of phone calls matter. Not the length.
The legislative aides are young (oh so young), motivated and powerful. They have the ear of their supervisor. They decide what gets moved up the food chain to your Senator or Representative. They are the gatekeepers to our legislative system. Be nice to them.
We (you and I) have compelling stories about caring for our most vulnerable – youth. We are valuable in their eyes. WE help THEM.
We need to be clear about what we are asking for. Right now that is DO EVERYTHING IN YOUR POWER TO STOP THE REPEAL OF THE ACA AND CHANGES TO MEDICAID. Democrats do not have the majority in the house, senate or the presidency. That does not mean we stop advocating for what is important to us, our schools or our youth.
It is now July 4th recess. Our legislators are home. At community barbeques and marching in parades. It is a great time to reach out.
In February I was in Washington DC and met with staff from Rep. Moulton, Rep. Kennedy, and Senator Markey. They are working non-stop. I told my stories, made my requests and thanked them. I then met with Senator Elizabeth Warren. After I spoke she looked me directly in the eyes, probably seeing my fatigue and my concern, held my hands and said;
“We will persist.”
We must persist.
Call. Visit. Now.