Both the House and Senate traditionally break for a month every August and members return to their home states and districts. Because they are there for more than just a few days, it is the perfect time to set up a meeting at his/her local district office or invite the representative or senator to tour your research lab. These meetings are a great way to make a connection and show your politicians the research taking place right there in their district.
They are hearing from constituents and interest groups every day about why their issues matter. They need to hear from scientists. They need to know that they have scientists in districts. Take your seat at the table so that science is not on the menu of items to cut.
Don’t be intimidated! Congress members do want to meet and hear from their constituents. Plus, the Society is here to assist you in the process.
ABCS of Political Advocacy
Elected officials hear from constituent and special interest groups every day. They are bombarded with information. To stand out and be effective, the messages you deliver have to be accurate, believable and clear (ABC). This applies whether you email, tweet, meet in person, or send a letter. Accurate: The information presented to Members and their staff must be accurate. Have sources readily available and be prepared to provide further information after the meetingBelievable: Let the information sell itself; explain the possibilities, but do not exaggerate. Credibility is essential. Clear: Keep the science simply. Remember, few outside the scientific community fully understand the language. When advocating for biomedical research, connect your research to a disease, its causes, and possible cures.
Be prepared with your question in advance of the meeting. When the time arises, be prepared to introduced yourself, your affiliation, and ask your question succinctly.
Here are some questions you can ask:
The way you find your elected officials and set up a meeting are different, but the tenants of advocacy are the same around the globe: you need to prepare, know where the individual you are going to meet with stands, and be clear about what you are asking them to do. That message can be as simple as support research funding.