Make Your Voice Heard on Capitol Hill!

Brie Baumert
August 1, 2017

We participate in the political life of our nation through an important task: by reaching out to our members of Congress with our opinions and concerns. Too often, our First Amendment right to petition to the government is overshadowed by other powerful aspects of the Constitution. Yet, this power we have is extremely effective, exceedingly important, and all the more necessary in our nation today. Beyond our duty as citizens, for some of us, our faith encourages us to be involved in the political process. The principles of Catholic Social Justice teach us that we have a responsibility to participate in politics out of a concern for and commitment to the good.

Contacting your members of Congress is easier now than ever before. With the help of technology and social media, there are many ways to get in touch with Representatives and Senators, including sending letters and faxes, visiting their offices in person, using social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, writing a letter to the editor in your local newspaper, attending town halls, and most commonly, directly emailing and calling your members of Congress.

Since President Trump took office in January 2017, a flood of phone calls and emails has been pouring into Capitol Hill. So many people have been contacting their congressional representatives that voicemail inboxes have been filled to capacity, phone lines have been busy, and emails have been bouncing back. Before President Trump’s inauguration, many Washington, D.C. offices received on average anywhere from 120 to 200 calls in a given week. Those numbers have more than doubled this year! Congressional offices claim that during the week of January 30, 2017, the Senate received 1.5 million calls a day. Three of those days were the busiest in the history of the Capitol switchboard. The outpouring of civic involvement, especially in light of the recent presidential election, is evident, and is making a difference in the legislative realm.

Needless to say, constituent input does matter greatly. “Everything is read, every call and voice mail is listened to,” Isaiah Akin, the deputy legislative director for Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, said.

The response by elected officials to these grassroots movements reveals that civic participation works. Contacting your members of Congress matters, whether your Senators or Representatives are Republicans or Democrats! It is critically important for Americans to stand up and make their voices heard. Let’s keep up the pressure on our elected officials to represent their constituents faithfully!

If you have never called your members of Congress, I urge you try. It’s simple, easy, and effective. Here’s how to do it:

  1. When there’s something important happening on Capitol Hill, NETWORK’s Action Alerts will ask you to call or email your members of Congress. Make sure you are signed up to receive action alerts via email (sign up here if you don’t already) and sign up to receive text alerts on your phone from NETWORK by texting “NUNS” to 877-877.
  2. Read NETWORK’s tips on emailing Congress or calling Congress to make sure you’re comfortable and confident contacting your members of Congress.

That’s it! You’re ready to get started contacting your representatives. I encourage you to not only reach out to your members, but to teach your friends how to contact their members of Congress and work towards Mending the Gaps!

Brie Baumert is a summer intern with the NETWORK Grassroots Mobilization team.

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