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Calling A Congressional Representative

Posted by on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 in News, The Nation's Health.

Calling your congressional representative and expressing a policy position is one of the easiest ways to directly engage with the policy process, but making the initial call can be daunting and frightening for many people. Not knowing who will answer your call or how receptive the person on the other end of the phone will be can discourage some people from making direct contact with their representatives. To demystify the process, the faculty from The Nation’s Health asked their students to call a U.S. Representative or Senator’s office to discuss a health care or public health issue important to them. While many students were initially intimidated by the process, several students felt satisfied with their experience and more confident in calling a congressional office. Here’s a sampling of what some students had to say about this assignment:

“This assignment really forced me to delve deeper into an issue and consider both sides. I found that it was quite easy to reach a representative, and I look forward to doing it again in the future. My letter may not have made much difference, but I hope that I am now at least a tally mark on a list, keeping track of what constituents say.”
Megan Lee (Senior)
Biological Sciences & History of Art

“Representatives and senators serve us, their constituents, and from my experience, they are accessible, approachable, and willing to listen to different beliefs. It sounds intimidating at first to reach out to someone in a position of power, but just like it can be nerve-wracking to walk into a professor’s office for the first time or to walk into an interview, thinking about the act is much more daunting than the act itself. My nerves were instantly calmed when I realized how easy it was to contact my representative’s office and how friendly staffers are when communicating with constituents.”
Chelsea Jones (Senior)
Economics & Medicine, Health & Society

“I am so grateful for this exercise. It forced me out of my comfort zone and to take direct action on matters personally important to me. Since making my first call, I’ve contacted my representative several times about other issues. I was also home over the weekend, and I encouraged my parents and siblings to give it a try.”
Alexi Blair (Graduate Student)
Medicine, Health & Society

“I first attempted to contact my representative by phone. There was no answer. Admittedly, I breathed a small sigh of relief. However, having put the time into learning about my representative’s positions, I called again. The staffer let me get through everything I was hoping to get across. I feel satisfied with my first attempt to contact a representative, and I now know that it is something I can do.”
Reid McCallister (Senior)
Biomedical Engineering

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