You have probably heard someone say, “Politicians won’t listen to an average citizen.” Or perhaps something along the lines of, “Politicians just like to sit around and argue with each other – they’re completely ineffective.” Maybe you’ve even said these things yourself. After all, it’s accepted conventional wisdom that politicians are corrupt and government is broken.
In truth, the most common phrase you hear in any elected official’s office is “how does this connect to my constituents?” In other words, elected officials DO listen to people in their communities – and the conflicts within and among these communities account for much of the debate and acrimony demonstrated in a legislative organization.
This is exactly what the Congressional Management Foundation found is a recent study of Congressional staff. When asked what influences a legislative decision, a visit from a constituent was number 1. Numbers 2, 3 and 4 were other personalized communications from constituents, such as letters and phone calls. A visit from a lobbyist was number five.
Learn more about the study (and the power of citizens) by reading "Communicating with Congress".
Read on to learn how to use this power effectively! Know Your Elected Officials
In this section
RESOURCES FOR MEMBERS
- Why Advocate
- Know Your Elected Officials
- Know the Issues
- Tell Your Story
- Tips for Follow Up
- Get Started Today! Here’s How