Tuesday, July 30, 2013

How to Visit Your Congressman

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July 30, 2013
How to Visit Your Congressman
Next week, the House and Senate will adjourn until after Labor Day so that members can make themselves available back home in your state or district. Last week, we encouraged you to gather some friends and set up an appointment to meet with your lawmakers while they are in the area.

So this week it is only fitting that we walk you through just how to get that done.

1. Set up the meeting. You may want to gather friends and neighbors to go with you, since having a small crowd is a show of strength. Don’t let your friends’ unavailability stop you, however. A visit by one or two is much better than no visit at all.

Once you’ve identified who’s going with you, call the local office you want to visit. Tell them when you would like to come and see if they have a 15-20 minute slot available. If they don’t, be as flexible as you can in scheduling a different time.

2. Prepare. Decide what talking points you want to make, and figure out who in your group will do the best job of making those points. You can make up to 5 or 6 key points, but should keep focal-point speakers to only 1 or 2.

You want to ask your congressman to cosponsor HJRes 50, the Parental Rights Amendment. You can find a lot of talking points at ParentalRights.org/documents. When talking to your Congressman, consider Why We Need an Amendment, or some of the stories from our July 16 newsletter. And if your Congressman is a Democrat, be sure to print out a copy of the Zogby Poll from 2010.

When talking to your Senators, focus on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We want them to oppose this dangerous treaty. You can find talking points at ParentalRights.org/crpd. (West Virginia residents: When visiting Senator Manchin, please focus on the Parental Rights Amendment and ask him to sponsor it.)

3. Show up. Gather your group somewhere other than the lawmaker’s office, so that you can arrive on site as one cohesive group. Arrive a few minutes early (between 3 and 10), and be prepared to wait patiently. Try to dress nicely, and do not let your group be unruly. (Taking children along is a great idea, but you need to make sure they will not be a distraction. Otherwise, it is better to leave them with a sitter.)

4. Make your presentation. You will want to have your points prepared, but also be ready to dialog. If you are visiting with a Democrat in the House, be sure to give them the Zogby poll which shows that 92.4% of self-identified Democratic voters agree with the traditional role of parental rights. (Point out this fact while you’re there.)

If your lawmaker or his staff have questions, answer those you can. If you don’t know an answer, be honest. Tell them, “I don’t know the answer to that, but I would be happy to find out and get back to you.” We will gladly provide the answers you need, and you will have set up a follow-up opportunity to build rapport with that office.

5. Follow up. When you get home (before you have time to forget), write a thank you note and mail it to the office. Thank your lawmaker for taking time to hear your concerns. You might also mention by name helpful staffers you met along the way. Was the receptionist especially hospitable? Or a staff liaison? You might mention her or him by name. They will hear about that, and you will likely win a friend in that office.

6. Let us know. Please shoot an email to David@parentalrights.org and let us know how your visit went. Please include your lawmaker’s name, how many went with you, which issue(s) you touched on (PRA or CRPD?), and your opinion of the meeting. (Please keep it brief, though. We are hopeful he will have to read a lot of these!)

Please keep in mind that encountering an unmoving Congressman or Senator is not failure on your part. You only fail by not making the visit at all. If you need to report that you “got nowhere,” we understand. It is still helpful for us to know where we stand.

If you have any other questions, please email David or give us a call at 540-751-1200 during office hours (8:30 – 5:00 Eastern, MondayFriday). We look forward to helping make your office visit a success!

Common Core: Where Do We Stand?
Our allies as Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), under the direction of ParentalRights.org president and HSLDA chairman Michael Farris, have completed their full review of the Common Core State (education) Standards Initiative. You can find that review on their website here.

Given the nature of HSLDA's mission, it should come as no surprise that they take a home schooling perspective. However, their legal analysis regarding such concerns as the federalizing of education and the development of a nation-wide, kindergarten to workforce database is of general interest to all parents, regardless of how you educate your child. I would encourage everyone to read this review to learn more about the threat of Common Core to your parental rights.

Get Your Copy of Internet Safety 101 - Ends Saturday
In case you missed our earlier email, we are offering this DVD course as a gift for your online or phone donation of $100 or more, but the offer is good this week only. For more info, click here. (Please note that this study deals with harsh dangers and realities and seeks to inform parents of the threats. Some of its language is graphic for this reason, and not suitable for everyone.)

Thank you for standing with us to protect children by empowering parents through the Parental Rights Amendment.


Michael Ramey
Director of Communications & Research

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