Contacting your elected representatives personally is one of the most important things you can do to effect change on an issue. In these days of rapid, damaging actions by Trump and Republicans, it’s essential that elected officials hear about what matters to you. Put their numbers on speed dial — it only takes a few minutes after hearing news to then take action!
Tips on Calling:
Call your own representatives. Regardless of party affiliation, it is most effective to call the elected officials that represent where you live. Elected officials track the residency of the people who contact their offices, and usually only track the opinions of those who live in their district.
Call first, don’t email. You have a higher chance of talking with the right person to hear your concerns, and calling can jam the phone lines, which requires staff members’ time and will often prompt the office to respond to the issue. (Check out this New York Times article on the merits of calling versus email.) If you call and get voicemail, then follow up with an email.
Take notes on the call, and follow up: Take detailed notes so you can call back later as an issue evolves. Compare notes with friends calling on the same issue, and see if anything conflicts. Local Republican members of Congress often do not even hold regular in-person town halls to listen and respond to the concerns of their constituents! If you live in one of their districts (check here).
For information on ways to be the most effective at lobbying members of Congress, check out the Indivisible Guide.
Call Your Members of Congress
Congress includes the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. The Senate confirms the President’s nominees for his Cabinet and the Supreme Court. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris represent the whole state of California in the Senate.
There are three members of the U.S. House of Representatives whose districts fall within Contra Costa County. Look up your member here.
Contact Your Local Officials
Calling your local officials often has as big an impact as calling Congress. For one thing, local officials have fewer calls, so you are more likely to speak to someone other than an intern – and perhaps have the chance of talking directly with your representative. In addition, calling local officials can prompt them to take action in your community that plays into national issues. For example, calling about sanctuary city legislation when immigration is a hot topic nationally may be more effective.