School’s out for summer… and so is Congress. August recess has officially commenced, and our Congressional representatives are heading back to their home districts until the middle of September. Life slows down in Washington, D.C., but it picks up for those members in their respective home states.
Members of Congress want to hear from their constituents. They want to hear from you, the voting public, about the issues that matter to you. You can certainly call, email, or write a letter… but meeting in person packs a certain punch. Unless you live on the east coast, traveling to D.C. can be logistically difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. Enter, August recess. This time of year is a great opportunity to pop into your rep’s local office or attend a town hall near your hometown. If you’re interested in undertaking a little advocacy in person, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Before you schedule a meeting, get to know your Congressional representative’s record on an issue you’d like to discuss. Take the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Has your member of Congress been a supporter of LWCF in the past? If so, you’ll want to encourage your rep to continue supporting it. If he or she has a record that indicates a lack of support for LWCF, you’ll want to be prepared with facts and figures about how LWCF money has had a positive impact in your area. Maybe LWCF funds have been used to construct a playground in your local park or repair portions of trail in a nearby national park. Check out your representative’s website, social media channels, and other public statements to familiarize yourself with your rep’s stance.
- Once you’ve done a little background research, you’ll want to reach out to the local legislative staff to schedule a meeting. You can find contact information on members of the House of Representatives and Senate on their individual pages. Click here to identify your House member and here to find your Senator. Call their office and identify yourself as a constituent. Now you’re off and running!
- If you do schedule a meeting, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at the Coalition. We’d be happy to answer questions, assist with putting together some talking points, or provide information on issues that pertain to our national parks.
We hope you’ll consider reaching out and meeting with your Congressional representatives in person sometime during August recess. Just remember, advocacy in action can take many forms. August recess provides a great opportunity to meet with your member of Congress in person, but a letter, phone call, email, or tweet are all great forms of advocacy as well. We appreciate all your efforts to help preserve and protect America’s national parks. Keep us posted and let us know how you become an advocate this month!