Communicating with Congress

Your lawmakers want to know how they can best serve you, your business and the people in your community. In their roles, they often grapple with unfamiliar issues and rely on staff and people on the ground to supply the information they need to make good decisions. To inform their decisions, they want to hear from constituents like you, particularly if you own a local business or speak for your employees. Your experiences and your employees’ experiences are some of the best educational tools they have on the issues impacting our industry.

Decisions made by legislators in Washington and in state capitals can affect who you hire, how much you pay them, what you can charge for your products, how much you will pay your suppliers, the quality of transportation you use to ship your goods, the taxes you pay and hundreds of other facets of your business, so it is important that you are a part of the discussion. When legislators are asked to make these decisions, they should think of you, your business and your employees.

If you are unsure of who your local, state and federal representatives are, a good first step is learning a little bit about them. You can find a list of your legislators here.

Reaching out to your lawmakers and building relationships with them ensures that you and your business are top of mind when important decisions impacting your business are being made.

NCA is here to guide you in building and maintaining relationships with your elected officials. If you would like to communicate with your elected officials about an issue, don’t hesitate to reach out to NCA for assistance. We are happy to help you gather information on the issues you’re discussing and answer any questions you have. If you have already been in communication with your elected official, let NCA know so that we can keep track of the interactions and suggest new ways for you to get involved.

Writing or Sending E-mail to Your Elected Official

Communicating with your legislator through written communication is less effective than speaking with them in person, but it has the advantage of being much easier and straightforward. We recommend sending an email to the elected official you are looking to reach, as this is often a better option. If you need to send a letter, scan it and send it as an email attachment to the legislator’s staff that handles the issue for the quickest response.

Calling Your Elected Official

Speaking with your elected official or their staff liaison on the phone is nearly as good as talking to him or her in person. Here are some tips to make your call more impactful:

  • Build a relationship with staff.  Ask to speak to the aide who handles the issue on which you wish to comment. They will be making the final recommendation to the elected official on how to vote.
  • Be prepared to discuss the issue quickly and concisely with the staff contact. When you reach your target, introduce yourself and explain why you are calling. Be as clear and specific with your request as possible: “Please tell Senator Smith that I oppose Senate Bill 587.” You will want to state your reasons for your support or opposition in a few clear sentences.
  • Follow up your conversation with an email. The email should begin, “I enjoyed talking with you Monday,” or something similar.
  • Always remember to be polite and understand that like any business, staff changes occur along with knowledge of the issues that mean the most to you and your business.