My Sure-Fire, Can’t-Miss Ways to Get Your Elected Representatives Attention

(This column, written in March of 2006 for, was on runaway spending. However, you can take any issue that is important to you and get the attention of your representatives if you use the suggestions below. I guarantee it!)

As I predicted last week, The Republican-led Senate raised the federal debt limit to $9 trillion, then went on another spending spree before passing the budget blueprint for 2007.Meanwhile, the Republican-led House of Representatives voted for $92 billion in so-called “emergency spending” without any offsets.This came just one week after party leaders gathered in Memphis and pledged their commitment to “fiscal restraint.”

What is a concerned citizen to do? That was the sentiment expressed in the e-mails I received last week. Some of you lamented that you have called and written your representatives to no avail.

First, if any of your elected representatives are Republicans, find out how they voted. (Democrat votes don’t really mean anything –unless they cross over and vote with Republicans – because the GOP is in the majority.) Only 19 House Republicans bucked party leaders and voted against the “emergency spending” bill. Only three Republican senators voted against increasing the federal debt limit and only five senators voted against the budget.

Next, get busy. Put the fear of God into these Republican representatives. Here are my tried and true ways to get the attention of any representative.

  • Write at least two letters. The first letter will get you a computer-generated response. Then, take that response and refer to it in the second letter. Complain that you didn’t get any real answers to your concerns. That will wind up on the desk of a legislative assistant who will try to address your concerns. The LA will have to check with his or her boss before the letter is sent so your “concerns” will go up the ladder.
  • Get five of your friends to do the same thing and get each friend to enlist the help of his or her friends and so on. One letter that requires this kind of attention is a pain. Several letters will get attention. Twenty of these letters will set off alarm bells.
  • Phone the local office of your elected representative. A lot of folks call Washington, but when you call the local office, they know you are a “constituent” – someone who can vote. Print out the phone number and hand it out with a copy of this column to everyone you know. A phone call is not as effective as a letter, but a large number of calls on the same subject get attention.
  • Write a letter-to-the-editor and mention the name of the representative. Congressmen and senators have clipping services and this will land right on the desk of the offending representative.
  • Better still, give a letter writing party. Getting a letter-to-the editor published is a numbers game. The more letters, the more likely one or more will be published. Pass out last week’s column “Washington’s secret plan to bankrupt the country” and several others on the subject. Give prizes for the most original, hard-hitting and concise letters, or come up with your own categories. Have fun!
  • Send your representative a balloon bouquet with a box of tea bags as an anchor and a short message such as “Hey, Big Spender!” You can go in with five friends in the district and all sign your names.
  • Send a singing telegram.
  • Put your message on tape or CD and send along with a player with instructions to “Just push play.”
  • Make an appointment to see your elected representative at his or her home office.
  • Run against your congressman – or find a suitable candidate who will – in the party primary. Senators are much harder to unseat but congressmen have to face voters every other year. That’s why all spending bills are to originate in the House. Most elected representatives are in “safe” districts where a member of the opposition party is unlikely to be elected. Most do not have primary challengers. If the filing deadline in your state has passed, put your congressmen on notice that you will see him in two years.
  • Remember, it’s not important that you win. It could happen. However, having to deal with a challenger will cause your representative to be more cautious when it comes to spending your money. You should be able to find a local talk-show host who will jump aboard your bandwagon if you speak well and can supply him or her with ammunition.

    Brian Riedl of the Heritage Foundations estimates that within a decade taxes must be raised by nearly $7,000 per household just to balance the budget, unless Congress changes course.

    Think you can’t afford the time to do one or more of the above? You can’t afford not to!

    2 thoughts on “My Sure-Fire, Can’t-Miss Ways to Get Your Elected Representatives Attention

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