Scheduling a meeting with your representative is the perfect way to turn the heat up and meet with our representatives when they are home from Washington, D.C. this summer. Diabetes doesn’t stop working, so we can’t either when it comes to asking Congress for help on diabetes issues. Not only will they be here, but many of them are campaigning, so they are looking for ways to connect with their constituents – perfect for everyone!
As we promised in our DPAC District Days are Coming post (which we encourage you to read if you’re unfamiliar with what DPAC District Days is all about), we will be providing you with helpful worksheets, advice, and information to make it easy to advocate. Let’s start!
Step 1: Download this Worksheet!
Once you’ve downloaded it/printed it out, you’ll see what information you want to gather before you even start the process. (And if you’re incredibly ambitious, you’ll want three worksheets: one for each Senator and one for your local House representative.) Much of the information you’ll need is found on the DPAC Scorecard, so be sure to click on that link to open another tab and get the information you’ll need.
When you review the DPAC Scorecard for each representative, you may find that he/she has supported many of the bills by co-sponsoring. Don’t think you have nothing to discuss with them! First, we always like to be thanked (which you can do at the beginning of the meeting), but you can also discuss the Medicare Competitive Bidding Program or the Special Diabetes Funding program. There is ALWAYS something to discuss when it comes to diabetes, right?
Pick a maximum of TWO topics to discuss and mark them on the worksheet to share with the scheduler. (Any more than two and you can actually lessen the importance of the meeting. No one wants a laundry list of bills to co-sponsor.)
Do you want to have others go to the meeting with you? Contact them and get their information, so that you’ll be able to share that with the scheduler as well.
How do I schedule a meeting?
You can find the website by clicking on the Find Officials link on DPAC’s website and entering your zip code. Clicking on the Senator or House representative will show you the official Congressional website for each.
Once at the representative’s website, you may see a “Request a meeting” section/button. This will give you information on how to schedule.
Some Congressional representatives will have an “online scheduling system” to help the scheduler with all of the details. If you call, they may ask you to fill out the online form.
Others may not have an online request, so you will call the local district office nearest to you and speak with someone.
When should I contact the scheduler for a meeting?
Best to schedule 3 to 4 weeks in advance. In 2016, if you want to meet with your representative, the time to start contacting the scheduler would be mid-June for a mid-July meeting. (Also, this does give you and the scheduler some flexibility to get a meeting with the representative over the 6 weeks that they are home.)
If you are planning to attempt a D.C. meeting, please be prepared for the distinct possibility that you will not meet with the representative, even if you have been scheduled. When Congress is in session, there are last minute votes or other issues that could draw the representative from the meeting. (This is why we prefer meeting in the district.)
My representative can’t meet with us!
If you are told that your representative is not available during the times you want to schedule, you may be offered a meeting with a staffer. Take it! There is often someone in the office who specializes in healthcare issues (after all, it’s a big deal!) and that person, if you meet with them, will share the information and help form a decision regarding co-sponsoring bills or taking action on an issue. Your representative places tremendous trust in that staffer, so trust them to meet and listen to you.
I Have An Appointment On The Calendar. Now What?
Fill out the DPAC District Days Pin Request so we can send you the coveted WE ARE DPAC pins to wear to the meeting (and one to give to the legislator, too!). They look super in a picture to give to the local press. (We’ll share more about that later!)
Our next DPAC District Days post will share more information, handy tips, and how to get ready for the meeting.