I recently moved just outside of Austin, I changed my driver’s license, and now it’s time to figure out my new Congress contacts and get involved. The following quote is from Ellis Ellsworth’s Call the Halls PDF:
Anytime you are communicating with your elected officials, you are likely doing more than your neighbor.
My Current House Representative Is…
Austin District Office
1005 Congress Avenue, Suite 925
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: (512) 473-8910
Fax: (512) 473-8946
My Previous Congressional Districts (I move a lot)
- Congressman Lamar Smith of the 21st District of Texas
- Congressman Bill Flores of the 17th District of Texas
- Congressman Lloyd Doggett of the 35th District of Texas
- Congressman Michael McCaul of the 10th District of Texas
- Congressman John Carter of the 31st District of Texas
- Congressman Blake Farenthold of the 27th District of Texas
Map of the other Texas Districts: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/TX#map
Of the list so far, only Lloyd Doggett is Democrat; the rest are Republican.
Questions to Ask Before Asking Questions
- Is my current representative on any committees?
- What is his or her voting record?
- What bills has he or she authored?
- What issues are important to my current representative?
- Are there any grassroots groups trying to lobby for the representative’s time?
- How much volunteer time am I willing to dedicate to groups that share my political agendas?
- What’s on their social media?
- What’s in their email newsletters?
- Does he/she have public town hall meetings you can sign up for and attend?
Tips for Effective Communication
Make sure you have a targeted question and that you are calling the proper office
- Personal calls and emails have more impact than social media
- Use an individual story and make sure it relates to issues that also concern your rep
- Use the email forms on the website to ensure your email is not seen as spam
- Write a personal office to their local office (mail sent to DC office is delayed for weeks)
- Phone calls are best, even though nervewracking
- Only call your own rep
- Identify yourself as a constituent
- Call only once
- Outline the legislation or issue you are concerned about
- Tell your personal story how this issue affects you
- Call them to action
- A few paragraphs or a few minutes
- Make separate calls/letters for separate issues
- Ask for a vote or position on a specific piece of legislation with the appropriate bill number
- Ask for statements or positions on a topic
- Ask that your opinion be recorded
- It’s crucial to let your rep know that you’re paying attention and that you disagree
- Thank them for agreeing with you or voting a certain way
- Offer encouragement and suggestions
- Identify your name and city
- State your specific call to action and pose your question to the staffer
- Wait for a response from the staffer
- Tell your personal story about why this particular call to action matters to you
- Ask for your opinion to be recorded and end the call
My Senators Are…
Cornyn, John – (R – TX) Class II
Cruz, Ted – (R – TX) Class I