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Meeting with a Member of Congress in the Home District is one of the best and the most direct ways of conveying the need to enact a multi-year public awareness crosswalk education bill.
How to Set Up a Meeting
Members of Congress’ schedules fill rapidly, so plan your meeting well in advance. Members of Congress are usually in their districts during holidays and Congressional recesses, and often on Mondays and Fridays. You can find the congressional schedule by looking at the House or Senate website at http://www.house.gov or http://www.senate.gov or by calling the Member of Congress’ office.
Almost all offices require a faxed copy of a meeting request before they will consider scheduling a meeting. Tell the scheduler the dates you are available, the issue you will discuss and who will be attending – ideally, a small group of constituents representing different companies and/or stakeholder groups in the transportation construction industry. Be sure to follow up a few days later to schedule the meeting.
Schedule a meeting by calling the state or district office and asking for the scheduler or appointment secretary. Explain your purpose and whom you represent. Be clear that the meeting is about a public awareness crosswalk education bill.
20 minutes is usually the most time you can expect for a meeting. Plan to speak for just 10 to 15 minutes to allow time for questions and responses. Make the story local using your own company and local examples the basis for Congress needing to act on a public awareness crosswalk education bill.
Town Hall Meetings and Public Forums
Members of Congress often schedule town-hall-style or public meetings in their districts. This is a good way for them to get out and talk to their constituents and a great way for you to raise the Member’s awareness on the need to enact a public awareness crosswalk education bill. bill. A well-informed question at a public meeting is an extremely effective way to get press coverage and pressure a Member of Congress publicly to take a position on this issue.
To plan ahead for a productive presence at a town hall meeting, it is critical to know the Member of Congress’ schedule. The following are good information sources for determining a Member of Congress’ district schedule.
- Call the Member of Congress’ district office directly and ask for when and where the next town hall meeting will be scheduled.
- Look at the Member of Congress’ website.
- Look at congressional newsletters that are sent to you by the Member of Congress’ office.
- Call your local Chamber of Commerce or Rotary Club. Members of Congress often speak to these groups.
Questions to Ask
Keep the questions simple. There are two basic questions to ask.
- The current public awareness crosswalk education programs are currently funded under an extension making it terribly difficult to make business planning decisions and for DOT’s to budget projects. Do you support passage of public awareness crosswalk education bills with increased funding for highways; transit; pedestrian safety; pedestrian education; pedestrian awareness?
- What are you going to do to help pass such legislation in Congress? Will you talk to the leadership?
As always, follow-up is important. If you have the opportunity to ask a question or talk to a Member of Congress you should follow it up a day or so later with a letter. Thank the Member of Congress for meeting or talking with you and for considering your views. It is always important to be respectful and courteous regardless of the Member of Congress’ opinions and to represent your company in a professional manner.
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