By Sarah Bramblette

During the summer months, the weather is warmer, and the days are longer. There are many reasons to love the summer season, including the additional opportunities to make a difference in your community! Did you know that the summer season is the ideal time to meet your members of Congress without having to travel to Washington, D.C.?

Here’s a step-by-step on how to connect with your members of Congress:

Step 1: Get to know your Members of Congress. Everyone (except residents of Washington, D.C.) is represented by one member of the House of Representatives and two members of the Senate.

Want to find you members of Congress? Click here!

Step 2: Find out when your members of Congress will be in your area. Here are a few tips:

  • Sign up for member newsletters and follow them on social media. This will give you information about when and where they will be in your area. Often, their staff will host Help Desks where you can go and speak to them about any issue. (This was the first step I took with my own personal advocacy.) Staff will take the information and pass it along to staff members who work specifically with healthcare-related issues.
  • Attend Town Halls hosted by your members of Congress. These might require advance registration or the submission of questions and comments upon arrival. But don’t worry if you don’t get to ask a question during the event. Staff often follow up with you afterward.
  • Attend community organizations meetings and events. Do you belong to a community or civic organization? Members are often invited to speak at member-only events, such as luncheons. You can even invite them to speak at your event through their website.
  • Remember, your member of Congress might come to you! Sometimes, members of Congress visit businesses in your area. If your employer hosts events with members of Congress, try to attend and ask the event organizers for an opportunity to speak with them.
  • Meet your members of Congress in the community. Summer is full of celebrations! There are four major federal holidays—Memorial Day, Juneteenth, 4th of July and Labor Day—local festivals and fairs. Politicians march in parades and set up booths at festivals and county and state fairs. These are perfect opportunities to stop by to say hi and leave your message and contact information.
  • Request a district meeting with your members of Congress. Congress is on recess during the month of August so members can spend time working in their home districts. This is a perfect time to see if you can secure an in-person meeting with them. Call their local office (you can check their website for the phone number) and ask how to schedule a meeting. Be sure to ask if you can meet with the member specifically. Otherwise, you will meet with staff, which can still be a productive meeting. There is also the chance that the member steps into the meeting to greet you and then let their staff conduct the meeting. If you do schedule a meeting, OAC can help you prepare!

Planning a summer vacation to Washington, D.C.? Take the opportunity to contact your members of Congress to help you schedule tours of many popular tourist attractions, including The Capitol Building and The White House! Check their website for more information.

We are here to help you in any way possible. Visit the OAC Action Center for current action items, or you can request printed materials to assist with your advocacy through the OAC Resource Center.

Now that you know all the ways you can advocate this summer, it’s time to make a plan! But most importantly, remember to relax and enjoy the experience.

Want to learn more about advocacy? Check out OAC’s Advocacy Town Hall Series!