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Legislative Affairs:

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Meeting with Your Congressional Members and Staffers

“Congressional staffers have significant influence in the modern Congress. Get to know the staffers who work on your issues and educate them (Gibson 2010)”

Who is your member?

• Unsure who your congressional representative or senators are? Look here:

House

Senate

• Identify your legislators – Click on their names for their home page

o One representative in your congressional district

o Two Senators (per state)

• DC Office

• Field Office (local) Find phone # on website

Making the appointment

• Introduce yourself and request to speak with staffer who works with “topic”

• “Good morning I’m (State your name) I am interested in scheduling a meeting with (Congressman/Senator’s name) or the appropriate staff member regarding military and veteran legislation. Would you be able to direct me to the right staffer or could I meet with my member when he/she is in the home office?”

• Request a face-to-face meeting-15 minute meeting

• Request a photo opportunity for day of meeting

• Appointment made

o Verify appt with f/u email

Make a good first impression

• Arrive on time

• Dress professional

• Bring prepared handouts reflecting MOAA’s position- placed neatly in folder

• Research if member has already co-sponsored bill

• Provide business or personal card (email address)

The meeting

• Introduce yourself – use your military title, title “I’m Lt Colonel John Smith, USAF Retired”

• Provide staffer with the folder of MOAA handout(s)- ask your Chapter council for support on the issue at large

• Thank them for taking time out of their busy schedule- upfront -keep pleasantries to minimum

• If member already co-sponsored- thank them for their support

• Give a quick overview

o Hone in on the message (bare essentials) and how does this impact their constituents (Gibson 2010)

• Educate the committee member-keep the language simple

• Don’t talk too fast or too much

Body language

• Provide eye contact throughout meeting

• Look interested when they speak (head nods etc.)

• If staffers seem bored, or looking at their watch, wrap it up quickly

Ending the meeting

• Ask if you can f/u and who is the best person to f/u if not the staffer?

• Ask if additional information is needed for f/u

• Thank staffer for their time (exit with a smile and positive comment)

Unable to meet face to face? Other alternatives:

• Call DC office (866) 272-6622 Capitol Switchboard -ask for member’s office

• Call Local office

• Ask to speak to the staffer who works with health Legislation

• Leave a message asking member to support H.R. XXXX or S. XXX

• Facebook page

• Social media

• Twitter

• Facebook page

If you need more support or plan on being in the DC area and would like to visit your member on Capitol Hill, don’t hesitate to reach out to your chapter’s legislative Committee or MOAA Government Relation’s team for support.

Citation: Gibson, J. (2010) Persuading Congress. Alexandria, VA: TheCapito.Net, Inc.

Western North Carolina Chapter of the Military Officer's Association of America.
WNCMOAA, Inc., P.O. Box 1984, Hendersonville, NC 28793 • Feedback  

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