Thursday, 12 September 2013 00:00

The Letter Drop Team

Written by  Andrea Miller

There are a number of ways that you can contact your Congressional representatives; you can email, call or pay a personal visit to their district or DC office. The action that consistently gets the most attention is stopping in at an office and dropping off a letter outlining what you'd like the office to consider.

Rick Sumner is currently a mental health therapist; however 20 years ago he worked with Congressional staffers and Representatives on Capitol Hill in his position with GAO (General Accountability Office). "In DC, you want to look professional and sound professional. You have to respect the fact that people are giving you time and also understand that staffers can't commit for their bosses. They can listen and if you do a good job of explaining what you want, the staffer will take your message back to their Congress member."

On a typical day Rick will visit 20 or more offices delivering letters and talking to available staffers. "You can't really make appointments and visit 20+ offices in a day; nearly all offices are willing to see you for a few minutes and that's all you need." Rick has dropped letters for National letter drops, done special targeted followup letter drops and worked on special letter drops for the Equal Rights Amendment. "PDA is a multi-issue organization and I feel strongly about most of their issues. I live in Virginia so I can make it to Capitol Hill where other people can't." Rick has been part of Letter Drop teams where groups of people join individual office visits but he mostly works alone. "I come early on Progressive Roundtable days and for meetings on HR 1000."

Not only has Rick been willing to drop off letters, he has also worked with new people showing them how to read the Visit Sheets and how to navigate the 3 House Buildings and the 3 Senate Buildings. The first comment that people often make is, "I can't believe there is so much walking!" On a typical Hill visit Rick will walk three (3) or more miles visiting all 3 buildings and nearly every floor.

In August the ERA Action Team joined us on Capitol Hill for Women's Equality Day. On Thursday, Friday and Monday we visited all 100 Congressional women in both the House and Senate. For original cosponsors of HJ Res 43, we dropped off vintage ERA pins; each cosponsor got a special "Thank You" visit. Tammy Simkins and Cathy Kaelin normally engage with Congressional members via social media but were very excited to be able to personally visit the offices and use more than 140 characters to get their message across. Since the ERA was part of the National August letter drop, on Monday we continued with regular letter drops. All told we visited more than 145 DC offices in 3 days.

Read 1600 times Last modified on Thursday, 30 October 2014 07:57

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