Visiting Your Member of Congress (MOC)
If you want to see your MOC in person, you need to call first to make an appointment. Sometimes, they will be at the district offices and you can arrange to see them there. If your plan is to see them in Washington, here are some tips:
• There are three Senate office buildings (Hart, Dirksen, Russell) and three House office buildings (Cannon, Longworth, Rayburn). The Senate buildings are in a row on Constitution Avenue on the north side of the Capitol building. The House buildings are in a row on Independence on the south side of the Capitol building. Once you are inside, you can travel between all three buildings on either the House or Senate side without having to go back outside and through security again.
• There is serious security at each visitor entrance. Please do not bring luggage with you. Security lines can be long especially in the morning.
• House offices are small and cramped. Senate offices are larger and cramped. Do not be offended if your meeting occurs in the reception area or even out in the hall. Sometimes you may be escorted to a Committee room or even to the Capitol to see a Member
• Sometimes Members and staff are very busy and may run unavoidably late. Do not be offended if you are kept waiting. If you have a meeting scheduled with the Member, do not be offended if you end up meeting with a staffer.
• Most meetings will be 15 minutes or less, so have a clear and specific ask prepared before you go and make your key points quickly and succinctly. If there are multiple people attending one meeting, decide ahead of time which person will cover which topics. Leave time for questions from the Member or staff.
• Always be respectful and diplomatic, even if the MOC’s position on issues is different from your view. They may not agree with you on an issue today, but they may be able to help with another issue down the road.
• Many Congressional staffers look (and are) young. Do not assume that such a staffer does not have significant responsibility and the ear of his or her Member. In most offices, the staffer you are meeting with will report on your meeting directly to senior staff or to the Member.
• Follow-up is important. Ask for the staffer’s business card and be sure to send a thank you email to the staffer in your meeting when you return home. Also, thank the Member of Congress for their public service often. When they have been supportive, thank them in writing and publicly if appropriate.
(adapted from a document on http://www.uma.org)