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U.S. Poverty Weekly Update August 19, 2014

I don't get it. One of the last things the House of Representatives did before going home until after Labor Day was to pass a bill to increase the Child Tax Credit (CTC). And that bill gives the credit to people who don't need it and takes it away from those that do.

 — RESULTS Coastal CT Free Agent Bill Baker in an August 12 letter to the editor in the Stamford Advocate

New and Urgent in This Week's Update

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Got Two Minutes? Call about Face-to-Face Meetings and Town Halls (August Action)

We are almost halfway through the congressional summer recess, which runs through September 5. If you have not contacted your House and Senate offices about scheduling a face-to-face meeting this month (or followed up on a previous request), please do so. There’s still time. Also, be sure to ask them about town halls and public events your members of Congress may be having this month. Use these opportunities to ask members of Congress and congressional candidates about expanding economic mobility in America.

RESULTS will continue to beat this drum about face-to-face meetings and town halls because we know how important they can be. We also know that these meetings are sometimes hard to get. To help you, we have a new RESULTS Blog post that highlights ways to help you set up these meetings. Also, if you’re just not getting any traction for a meeting this month, ask to schedule a meeting this fall when they are home again. The House will be on recess the week of September 22, as well as most of October. The Senate will be on recess for some of this time but exact dates are unknown at this time (they’ll likely be out a good chunk of October too).

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to call the scheduler(s) for your members of Congress and congressional candidates to find out about setting up face-to-face meetings or attending town halls this month. The RESULTS Elected Officials page has contact information for both the local and DC offices of your members of Congress. See the August Action for very helpful information on preparing for and doing town hall meetings.

If you are just now requesting a meeting, use our downloadable meeting request letter or online form for your requests. Remember, Congress will be on recess this fall so ask for a meeting in September or October if you can’t get one this month. Also, when you get a meeting scheduled or plan to attend a town hall, please contact Jos Linn (jlinn@results.org) or Meredith Dodson (dodson@results.org) to help you get ready.


Got Ten Minutes? Practice Your “EPIC Laser Talk” for your Face-to-Face Encounters this Month (August Action)

Last week, RESULTS urged you to take ten minutes to draft your EPIC Laser Talk for town hall meetings this month. Having a RESULTS EPIC Laser Talk ready to go is a very valuable tool in your advocacy toolkit, and not just for town halls. RESULTS is replete with stories of volunteers bumping into members of Congress at events, the airport, and in the grocery store, among other places. By having your laser talk ready to go at a moment’s notice, you can use these unexpected opportunities to have a conversation about our issues.

But writing your laser talk is just one step. Practicing your laser talk must be part of your laser talk process. Remember, writing a laser talk is much different from speaking one; things that look great written don’t always sound great spoken. Therefore, practicing your laser talk out loud is essential. The more you speak it, the more you learn it. Also, practice it in front of someone else, if possible, and ask for their feedback. This helps you hone your message and make your laser talk as powerful as it can be. Practicing your laser talk takes only a few minutes per day, but it makes a huge difference. Then when you do attend that town hall or sit next to your legislator on a flight or see him/her in the produce aisle, you’ll be ready.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to draft and practice your EPIC Laser Talk for upcoming town halls Your questions (unless otherwise coached) should focus on the on the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit (CTC), and Financial Security Credit (FSC). For a starting point, use our Sample Town Hall Questions. The August Action has lots of information to help you prepare for your town hall meetings. If you need help preparing questions for a town hall meeting, please contact Jos Linn (jlinn@results.org) or Meredith Dodson (dodson@results.org) for help.

For more information about town halls this month, listen to our August 2014 National Conference Call with guest speaker Tom LaPointe on our National Conference Calls page (you also can download the slides and summary of the call there).


Got Twenty Minutes? Follow Up with Tax Aides from Recent Lobby Meetings

As you work to push Congress to enact polices that will expand economic mobility in America, please remember that following up from recent lobby meetings is just as important as the initial meetings themselves. Many of you had lobby meetings with your members of Congress and/or their aides at the RESULTS International Conference in June. Some of you have had meetings with lawmakers and aides at home this summer. We thank you for your hard work at scheduling and doing these meetings.

But remember, a lobby meeting has two important components – the asking and the doing. Asking is what happens in the meeting itself. Doing is what happens afterward. In our case, the doing means:

  1. Have they spoken to House/Senate tax leaders about:
    • Making the 2009 Earned Income Tax Credit (ETIC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) improvements permanent and expanding the EITC for workers without children in tax reform legislation?
    • Including the Financial Security Credit (FSC) in tax reform legislation?
  2. Have they co-sponsored:

Some members of Congress will follow through on these requests without any prodding. That’s great. Unfortunately, there are many members who need that prodding. Perhaps they got busy, or perhaps they forgot. No matter the reason, following up is essential in making your lobby meeting a success. If they promised to do something, following up will help ensure that they do it. It keeps their feet to the fire. And it make take one call to the aide, or two, or ten, but when they know you won’t be giving up, they’ll be more likely to fulfill their promise sooner or tell you why they can’t.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes follow up with tax aides on recent lobby meetings or to reconnect with them about EITC, CTC, and FSC. The RESULTS Conference Lobby Resources page provides you the materials we’ve been using in lobby meetings this summer. You can find the names of tax aides and contact information on the RESULTS Elected Officials page. Be sure to also ask the aide if he/she will be coming to your home state this year and arrange for them to meet with you and your group if and when he/she does.

If you have not had a recent lobby meeting (and are not likely to during this recess), use these calls to reconnect with your tax aides about the EITC, CTC, and FSC. Ask them about the requests above. Remind them of the House vote on H.R.4935 and why you oppose those changes to the CTC. Ask what you and others back home can be doing to raise awareness of these issues. Reconnect, build on your relationship, and let them know you want to work with them to keep these issues front and center.


Join RESULTS Free Agents Calls Today at 1pm and 9pm ET, Intro Call Friday at 1pm ET

The RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents will be meeting TODAY, August 19 at 1:00pm at 9:00 pm ET for their monthly support calls. On this month’s call, we’ll celebrate recent successes you’ve had, update you on legislative actions since our July call, and discuss what actions you can take the rest of this month. If you live in an area with no RESULTS U.S. Poverty group, would like to connect with other volunteers, and get trained and supported in taking action on our issues, please join us. To participate in one of the calls, dial (857) 232-0476 and enter passcode 703096.

Also, invite someone you know to join our next RESULTS Introductory Call. These 30-45 minute calls provide a good overview of RESULTS and how you and others can get involved. The next RESULTS Intro Call is this Friday, August 22 at 1:00 pm ET. To register for this or another upcoming Intro Call, go to: http://www.results.org/take_action/become_a_results_activist/.


RESULTS is Expanding in AL, AZ, CO and MO – Know Anyone There?

RESULTS continues its work to expand our reach and impact in the world by starting new RESULTS groups and supporting existing groups around the country. Here is where we’re working right now:

Birmingham, AL. U.S. Poverty Organizer Kristy Martino is working with local advocates in Birmingham to start a new group in September. Their RESULTS outreach meeting is scheduled for September 25. If you know anyone in the Birmingham area, please contact Kristy at kmartino@results.org

Tucson, Arizona. U.S. Poverty Organizer Myrdin Thompson is working to start new groups in Tucson and will be traveling there in September to hold an outreach event. If you know anyone in Tucson (also Phoenix), please contact Myrdin at mthompson@results.org.  

Boulder, CO. RESULTS Grassroots Manager Jos Linn is working with REAL Change Fellows to start a new campus group at the University of Colorado in Boulder. We hope the group will consist of both students and people from the community. If you know anyone in the Boulder area, please contact Jos at jlinn@results.org.

St. Louis, MO. Jos is also working with REAL Change Fellows in St. Louis to strengthen the local group there. They will be having an outreach meeting there this fall. If you know anyone in St. Louis, please contact Jos (jlinn@results.org) for more details.

RESULTS is also working to start new groups in Detroit, Louisville, Dayton, and Salt Lake City, among other places. If you know anyone in these or other areas of the country, please contact Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson at dodson@results.org.


Use RESULTS Online Media Action for LTEs While Congress is Home

In addition to meeting with members of Congress in face-to-face meetings and town halls this month, use the media to keep them thinking about poverty while they’re home. Letters to the editor (LTEs) are a great way to get lawmakers’ attention and educate the public on our issues. RESULTS has an online letter to the editor you can personalize and send right from our website (although we recommend you copy and paste it into an e-mail you send or into your newspaper’s online submission form). Use this month’s recess as a hook for your letters. For example, you could start off by saying, “Now that members of Congress are back home this month, I hope they will take time to look at one of the most important but too often ignored issues in our community – poverty…”

You can find information about media outlets in your area in our Media Guide. Also, note that in September, we will be making a big media push to highlight the release of the 2013 U.S. Census poverty data. To date, RESULTS volunteers have generated 71 media pieces about U.S. poverty in 2014 (55 LTEs, 14 op-eds and 2 articles). In September, we will increase those numbers by helping you generate editorials about poverty in America. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks.

Finally, don’t forget that our Media Team wants to help you become a Twitter advocate this month. Read this section in last week’s Update on how you can use Twitter to create the political will to end poverty.


Quick News

RESULTS Blog Posts Highlights How to Get a Face-to-Face Meeting. As mentioned last week, the RESULTS Face-to-Face Support Team is running a series of blog posts to help you with your face-to-face meetings this month. This week, Jos Linn, RESULTS Grassroots Organizer for U.S. Poverty Campaigns, has a RESULTS Blog post with tips for scheduling in-person meetings with legislators. If you don’t know how to schedule a face-to-face meeting or are having trouble getting one, check it out. And don’t forget to read last week’s post about why these meetings are so important. Tune in next week for a new installment.

Not Too Late to Join Reclaiming Our Democracy Book Discussion. Last week, RESULTS founder Sam Daley-Harris began a three-week book discussion on his book Reclaiming Our Democracy about the founding of RESULTS. The first session went very well; you can listen to a recording of that call through the RESULTS website. The remaining calls in the series are tomorrow, August 20 and next Wednesday, August 27, both at 9:00 pm ET. If you’d like to join the discussion (even if you missed the first call), sign up here. Join the discussion and learn how RESULTS became RESULTS.

Join Talk Poverty Webinar with Rep. Gwen Moore Next Tuesday. On August 26, join our friends at TalkPoverty.org for a Google Hangout to discuss poverty in America and what we can do about it. Specifically, TalkPoverty will discuss Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which created 18 years ago this month. The conversation will talk about how TANF has worked, not worked, how it could be made better, and the politics of strengthening the social safety net. The panel will include Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI-4), LaDonna Pavetti of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Quanda Burrell of Witnesses to Hunger, and Greg Kaufmann of TalkPoverty.org. You will also have the opportunity to participate though Twitter at @TalkPoverty with the hashtag #talkpovertylive and posts on the TalkPoverty.org Facebook page. The presentation is Tuesday, August 26 at 2:00 pm ET. To participate, go to this link and sign up today.

For updates on all our U.S. Poverty Campaigns, see our U.S. Poverty Campaigns Summary page on the RESULTS website.


Fundraising Update

The Development Team is in the midst of securing details for our fall fundraising events. If you have a local event on the calendar that you have not yet informed us of, or if you want to plan an event for the fall, please contact Jen DeFranco (jdefranco@results.org) to get those events on the calendar and get support from the Development Team. 

Also...watch for the new and improved online fundraising platform, which will roll out at the end of August. It will feature our new Friends & Family, Celebrations, and Race to End Poverty pages – followed closely by our online Thanksgiving Feast campaign. Stay tuned!


Announcements

New Feature for Your Local Action Networks! RESULTS groups and volunteers around the country are very good at encouraging others to take action. Through your efforts, many of you have created “local action networks” of people who are willing to take action from time to time on our issues. RESULTS has created a new tool to help you keep your action networks engaged. Beginning this month, we will dedicate a section of the monthly Action Sheet to your action networks. It is a short paragraph that you can cut and paste into an e-mail to send out to your network members. This way, people can keep up with our issues on a regular basis and you keep them engaged and active. This month’s action is sending an e-mail to Congress about protecting tax credits for working families. Send it out today and tell others to make their voices heard!

Please Fill Out the Lobby Report Form. If you have not filled out a report for your recent lobby meetings, please take a few minutes fill out our online Lobby Report form at: http://tinyurl.com/LobbyReportForm. Please fill out the form for lobby meetings you have at home and in DC.


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: August 4 – September 5. Request face-to-face meetings.

Tuesday, August 19: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Calls, 1:00 pm ET and 9:00 pm ET. (443) 453-0034, passcode 703096.

Wednesdays August 20 and 27: Reclaiming Our Democracy book discussion with Sam Daley-Harris, 9:00 pm ET.‚Äč Sign up to attend here.

Friday, August 22: RESULTS Introductory Call, 1:00 pm ET. Register for this or another Intro Call at: http://www.results.org/take_action/become_a_results_activist/.

Monday, September 1: Happy Labor Day! All RESULTS offices closed.

Saturday, September 13: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.


RESULTS Contact Information

Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 466-1397, 1101 15th St NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20005. If mailing a donation to our DC office, please address the envelope to the attention of Cynthia Stancil.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty Legislative and Grassroots Support Staff:

The RESULTS U.S. Poverty Update is sent out every Tuesday via email to RESULTS volunteers and allies all over the country. The purpose of these updates is to inform and activate RESULTS activists to take action on our U.S. poverty campaigns.