2017 Issues & Advocacy
Have you talked to your elected officials recently about policy issues that matter to you? They are there to listen if you are willing to speak. So give them a call and break the ice!
Calling your Elected Officials in 1, 2, 3!
1. Find out who represents you.
Depending on the issue that you care about, there are a number of officials you can call at the local, state and federal levels. Resources are available below to help you find out who those people are and how to contact them.
2. Decide what to call about.
What kinds of issues do you care about most? Which issues are currently being considered at the official level? Check out reliable news sources, specific organizations you care about and trust, as well as political offices’ websites to see when meetings will happen, when issues are discussed and when legislation will be voted on. Every level of government holds public meetings regularly — usually bi-weekly, sometimes monthly and sometimes weekly. You may also find it helpful to talk to other people about what issues they have been keeping track of and care about.
Calling is more effective than emailing or writing a letter to get your message across (see below). Call the office of your representative to express concern over particular issues even if you are not a part of their political party. Many issues you care about, you may find, are not specific to any given political party.
Many say that it is preferable to call the local or district office over the D.C. office. And it is a good idea to call your representative during business hours (9 a.m.–5 p.m.). If you have trouble getting through, every official has a constituent services department that helps constituents. Call them directly if the general line is a no-go.
You may find that using a script will be useful, but this is optional. Either way, it is always best to be as specific as possible about the issue you are calling about, including the legislation number if relevant. Also, give your address when you leave your message! The address confirms that you are the constituent of the official and that they are obligated to take note of your message.
Hi, My name is [insert name]. My address is [insert address] and I am a constituent of [insert official name]. I have a message for [insert official name]. I am calling to [insert message*] because [add in additional details if desired]. Will you please pass on the message?** Thanks for your time.
*Your message could be a number of things: urge him/her to vote [yes/no/abstain] on [issue/bill/legislation], consider the interests of [organization/group], take [issue/cause] seriously, make a public statement about [issue], thank him/her for [doing, saying, voting ___].
**You may also leave contact information, if you want: If there are any questions, I am happy to discuss this further. Here is my contact information: ___.
If you feel shy or nervous about calling, that is okay. Nobody will tell you that your issue is unimportant or argue with you. If the person says that the representative has a stance that disagrees with your message, simply reiterate your message. You may also elaborate more on the issue if you want to.
4. Pat on the Back.
The final step is to congratulate yourself for doing something so important! Over time, anyone can build the confidence to express his or her voice with ease. Take deep breaths, voice your message and, most of all, remember how important your voice is!
Finding your Officials
- General information
- U.S. Senate
- U.S. House of Representatives
- State governors
- State legislature websites
- U.S. mayors
- County executives
- Local governments
- Broome County Legislature
- Binghamton City Council
- NY State Assembly
- NY State Senate
- NY Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (District 123) — 607-723-9047 or 518-455-5431
- State Senator Fred Akshar — 607-773-8771 or 518-455-2677
- Congresswoman Claudia Tenney — 202-225-3665 or 315-853-4979
- Senate Minority Leader Charles (Chuck) Schumer — 607-772-6792
- Senator Kristin Gillibrand — 212-688-6262
- Congressional Switchboard — 202-224-3121
- White House Switchboard — 202-456-1414
Contacting Senators and Representatives
All questions and comments regarding public policy issues, legislation or requests for personal assistance should be directed to the Senators or Representatives from your State. Some Senators and Representatives have e-mail addresses while others have comment forms on their websites. When sending email to your Senator or Representative, include your return postal mailing address.
By postal mail
You can direct postal correspondence to your Senator or to other U.S. Senate offices at the following address:
For correspondence to U.S. Senators:
Office of Senator (Name)
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
For correspondence to Senate committees:
(Name of Committee)
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
For correspondence to U.S. Representatives
Office of Representative (Name)
US House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Alternatively, you may phone the United States Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.