Excerpt of a guest post by Research!America Manager of Policy and Advocacy Caitlin Leach, published in the Fight Colorectal Cancer blog to help prepare their advocates for their Hill day, Call-on Congress, on March 18.
As you prepare for your trip to Call-on Congress in Washington, make room in your luggage for your stories, your experiences and your hope for the future. Your perspectives bring legislative issues to life. Anecdotes about colorectal cancer’s impact on you and your community are essential for your representatives in Washington and their staff members to hear.
Members of Congress make decisions by weighing the facts and evidence, but also based on the insights their constituents share about how policy impacts their lives. Adding your voice to the conversation is critical to successful advocacy.
Meeting with Legislative Staff
While you are in Washington this week, many members of the House and Senate will be in recess — meaning the Members are back home working in their districts. Advocating on the Hill during a congressional recess is just as important as advocating during a busy in-session week.
While you might not get to meet your representative and have a photo-op shaking hands, you will get to meet with the brain trust – congressional staff members. This will be during a time when they have less-hectic schedules and more time to devote their attention to the issues.
Members of Congress are supported by a team of outstanding staffers who advise them on a variety of policy areas covering everything imaginable. You are likely to meet with a staffer; often a legislative assistant (LA), who handles health or related issues. These individuals are part of a legislative staff who work tirelessly behind the scenes to propose ideas for new policies, brief the representative on issues and take dozens of meetings each week with interest groups and constituents.
These are the policy experts.
Read the full blog post here.