How You Can Connect with your Member of Congress at a Town Hall
Town Halls are one of the most effective and direct ways to engage a member of Congress, as well as a crucial way to garner local media attention in districts that traditionally read local media only. This platform also allows for individuals to motivate other voters to hold incumbent members of Congress (MOC) accountable. Town Halls are one of the unique grassroots aspects of our democracy, make sure you exercise this crucial democratic right!
5 Tips for A Great Town Hall
1. Get in Touch BEFORE the Townhall with the representative’s staffer in district or DC.
- Example Email or Call: “Hi, I’m a constituent, and I’d like to know when his/her next town hall forum will be.”
- If they don’t know, ask to be added to the email list so that you get notified of any future town halls. As a constituent, you can also urge your member of Congress to hold a town hall if they don’t have any planned.
2. Prepare well beforehand and organize other MomsRising members in your district.
- Let us know that you will be attending a town hall so that we can share that information with other MomsRising members, and also share it on our social media channels. You can get in touch with us about your plans by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Collect and share information about how your member of Congress has voted on issues that are important to you. Make sure you share this information with all members attending the town hall.
3. Prepare your questions in advance.
- Questions should be sharp and fact-based, ideally including information on the way the member of Congress has voted and his record or statements they have made.
- Focus your questions on an issue area to maximize your impact and prepare 5-10 questions ahead of the meeting.
- Here are some resources that you can use to prepare questions for the town hall:
4. Make sure to inform and connect with your local press!
- Connecting your town hall issue to local press is the most effective way to leverage your voice in the community.
- Go on Google News and find out your town/city’s local reporters who have already written articles on your MOCs. Make sure to check their twitter and facebook to strengthen the relationship.
- Reach out before the town hall and explain what you are doing and why you are using your voice.
- Journalists, especially local ones, appreciate these type of stories and are always on the lookout for easy material for an article.
- Make sure to take videos yourself and share with them after and to your own network!
5. At The Town Hall
- Be clear and thoughtful with MOCs, even those you disagree, but also make sure to be persistent and get your questions answered! Demand real answers from them and do not let them dodge your question (they are very good at it!)
- Do not return the mic until you are 100% satisfied with the answer your representative gave. If the staffer at the townhall objects, then say politely but loudly: “I’m not finished. The MoC is dodging my question. Why are you trying to stop me from following up?”
- Bring pressure throughout the entire event. After one member of the group finishes, everyone should raise their hands again. The next member of the group to be called on should move down the list of questions and ask the next one.
- Reinforce the group message by clapping to show that the feeling is shared by the audience. Whenever someone from your group gets the mic, they should note that they’re building on the previous questions — amplifying the fact that you’re part of a broad group.
Find a town hall near you!
Please visit https://townhallproject.com/ to find an updated list of town halls near you!
- Rep. Darin LaHood, IL-18 Tue, Aug 21, 2018 6:00 PM, CDT 1301 S 48th St, Quincy, IL 62305
- Rep. Darin LaHood, IL-18 Fri, Aug 24, 2018 2:00 PM, CDT, 618 S Sangamon Ave, Gibson City, IL 60936
- Rep. James Comer, KY-1 Fri, Sep 7, 2018 5:00 PM, EDT 231 Court House Square, Liberty, KY 42539
- Rep. Bradley Byrne, AL-1 Mon, Aug 20, 2018 3:00 PM, CDT 11610 US-90, Grand Bay, AL 36541
- Rep. Joe Wilson, SC-2 Tue, Aug 21, 2018 9:00 AM, EDT 1235 Columbia Ave, Irmo, SC 29063