Tips for Effective Phone Calls to Members of Congress
• As a general rule, direct calls about pending bills to the Washington office and calls about less urgent matters to the district office.
• If you are calling Washington and don’t know the MOC’s direct number, you can call the switchboard and be connected. For the House the number is 202-225-3121, for the Senate it is 202-224-3121.
• Do your homework before you call and at least know some pertinent details like the name of the bill or its number, and what it says, so you can sound informed and knowledgeable when you call.
• Introduce yourself by name and say right away that you are a constituent and where you live. Include your zip code. MOCs pay attention if constituents call. Remember, if you own a house or business in more than one location, you are a constituent of the MOCs for all of your locations.
• If you are calling someone who is not your own MOC, but the member of a committee involved with a bill or a hearing that you want to comment on, give that information at the beginning of your call
• Keep it brief and to the point. These folks are fielding lots of calls and will appreciate not having to guess at what you are trying to convey.
• If you have any credentials or personal experience that is relevant to the issue, mention them.
• State clearly what you are asking the MOC to do (i.e. vote a certain way on a bill, introduce legislation on a particular issue, ask a certain question in a hearing, etc.). Mention what your concerns are if the bill in question does/doesn’t pass, or the action you’re requesting doesn’t occur.
• Thank the aide or intern you speak to for their time. If your MOC has a voting record you approve of or has does something else you like say so. They get lots of calls asking for things and few offering support and gratitude. MOCs need to hear when they are getting it right!
A Sample Phone Call: In reference to a fictional bill
Hello, my name is ___ and I am a constituent of Senator ___. I live in Provincetown, MA zip code 02657. I’m calling today about senate bill number 321, which takes away funding to states for clean water projects. I am requesting that Senator ___ vote no on this bill when it comes up for a vote tomorrow. I have been following the situation in Flint Michigan and I am deeply concerned that the proposed legislation will remove the protections we now have that keep us all from having water as tainted as that in Flint. I have health issues and a limited income, and it is prohibitive for me to buy bottled water if our local water becomes unfit to drink. Thank you for conveying my concerns to the senator and please let her know how much I appreciate everything that she does on behalf of her constituents.