American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Frequently Asked Questions: Capitol Hill Visits

Why would the Representative or Senator be interested in meeting with me?

Because you vote for your Representative and Senator, they depend on you for their reelection. They also get their information from their constituents. They depend on you to tell them how legislation affects you in your work and the people you serve. They do not know of problems in specific professions or how to improve things until they are told about it by people like you.

How early should I set up the meetings?

You should set up the meetings as early as possible. Representatives, Senators, and their staff have very busy schedules. The earlier you set up the meeting, the more likely they will be able to meet with you at your most convenient time.

What should I say?

You should read the talking points attached to each issue brief and memorize one statistic or fact, and relay that information to the legislator to establish yourself as an authority. You should also mention the town in which you reside and the name of your place of schooling or employment, and the name of the town in which you work.

You should also tell your legislators and/or their staff about what you do and why it is important to the Representative's/Senator's constituents. You should also explain how the legislation will specifically impact you and your students/patients.

Please remember to ask for the legislator to do something such as cosponsor the bill or support increased funding. This will let the legislator know exactly what you expect.

If your Representative or Senator has already cosponsored the legislation, please remember to thank him/her for their support.

How long should the meeting be?

The meeting can often be completed in 15 minutes, although they may go long as 30 minutes.

What should I bring with me?

You should bring a copy of ASHA's "leave behind" materials to leave with your Representative/Senators. You may also bring business cards and any other relevant materials to leave with legislators.

What should I wear?

You should dress in business attire.

What follow-up should I do?

Write a thank you e-mail for the meeting where you can link to ASHA's issue briefs online and provide any follow-up information you promised. Two weeks later, write an e-mail to the Representative's or Senator's staffer asking if the Representative or Senator has agreed to co-sponsor the legislation that you requested they sign onto.

Who should I contact if I have further questions?

If you have any questions or need more information about legislative advocacy, please contact ASHA's associate director of federal advocacy at grassroots@asha.org or 202-624-8198.

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