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December 2009 U.S. Poverty Laser Talk

Getting a Face-to-Face Meeting with Your Member of Congress During an Upcoming Recess

When to Schedule a Meeting

You can meet with your members of Congress throughout the year when they are back home in the district. It’s actually better to meet them when they are home because they generally have more time and are less distracted than when they are in D.C.

Members are usually back in their districts Friday–Monday. In addition, there are “district work periods,” or recesses, throughout the year when they are home for a week or more. You can ask for a meeting during these periods because your member of Congress will have more time. The House congressional calendar (pdf) is now available, and the Senate version will be available soon. The Senate and House calendars are usually very similar, but there can be some differences; generally, both have recesses during the winter (until mid-January), mid-February (President’s Day), and early April (Easter recess from the end of March through the beginning of April).

Making the Call to Schedule a Meeting

Step 1: Pick a time to place your call so that you have ample time for follow-up.

Step 2: Locate the contact information for your member of Congress’ local district office through the RESULTS website.

Step 3: Prepare what you will say, using the notes below.

Hi, my name is _________________, and I am a constituent in your state/district. I am also an advocate with RESULTS. We’re a grassroots group working on the alleviation of hunger and poverty here and abroad, and we have previously worked with the congressperson on [describe one or two issues]. I know that the congressperson has shown an interest in our issues in the past because of his/her leadership on . . . (Personalize your message here by researching the voting record of your congressperson through the RESULTS website.) I would like to schedule meeting with the congressperson while he/she is home for the upcoming recess. Would it be possible to do that today? I would be happy also to send/fax you a written request with more specific information.

Step 4: Be sure to note the name of the scheduler, and if a firm answer isn’t given to you, mention when you’ll be following up.

For additional tips on how to schedule your face-to-face meeting, check out Working with Congress: Activist Milestone #7, which includes a sample letter to the scheduler. Additionally, you can find a sample letter at our Skills Center.