Communicating with your members of Congress is an important way to make your voice heard. Whether your meeting takes place in your hometown or in Washington, DC, ASBMB provides a step-by-step guide to ensure your visit goes smoothly.
Step 1: Identify your members of Congress
Each person in the U.S. is represented by one representative and two senators. You can find out who represents you on the House and Senate web sites.
Step 2: Schedule a meeting
Members of Congress split their time between their home districts and Washington, DC. They may be available to meet with constituents in either office depending on whether Congress is in session. Contact information for each representative and senator is available on his/her website. ASBMB Public Affairs staff would be happy to schedule meetings on your behalf.
Step 3: Do some research
Before you meet, make sure you've done your homework. ASBMB provides a number of resources that will help you be ready for your meeting.
- Congressional biographies - Details include committee membership, issues of importance and legislative record.
- You may also want to visit Your Candidates--Your Health to find out more about your members of Congress' stance on issues related to research.
- Science and your community - How does your state and district benefit from biomedical research? ASBMB Public Affairs staff can provide a summary document that details the benefits of research to your local community.
- Tips for meeting with Congress - These pointers will help your visit go smoothly from start to finish.
Step 4: Practice and Prepare
Successful meetings require practice and preparation. ASBMB has a number of resources that will help you be the most effective advocate.
- Meeting with Your Congressman: A Guide for the Grass Roots Advocate - A short video featuring examples of Congressional visits by a delegation of scientists and tips for planning a successful meeting.
- Example talking points - Some additional information about the importance of research and the importance of research funding.
- Communicating your science - During your meeting, expect to explain you research to an educated lay person (i.e. the member of Congress, or their staff). These individuals are generalists in nature, and may not have the same depth of knowledge regarding scientific principals you do.
- AAAS provides a number of webinars and other tools that can help you frame your research in more generally accessible ways.
Step 5: The meeting
Put your research and preparation into practice and, as the meeting concludes, leave your member of Congress with some information about the importance of research.
Step 6: Follow up
Write a note thanking the member of Congress for meeting with you. As you reflect on the visit, let ASBMB know how it went. What did the member and his/her staff tell you? Were you able to effectively communicate your message?
Don't have time to meet? Write or call!
If you don't have time to meet with your representative or senator, you can still be an effective advocate for research. See our page on "How to Contact Your Member of Congress" for help on getting in touch. Also, go to our page on "Examples of Letters/Phone Scripts" to get an idea of what to say!
Questions? Just ask.
Don't hesistate to contact the Public Affairs office with any questions.
ASBMB Public Affairs Office
Director of Public Affairs
11200 Rockville Pike, Suite 302
Rockville, MD 20850-3110 USA
Phone: 240-283-6600 Fax: 301-881-2080