Calling the offices of Members of Congress is one of the easiest and most effective ways for Eye CAN advocates to communicate with policymakers about vision and eye health.
Always make calls on your own time and with your own phone.
To reach the offices of your two senators and your representative call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202/224-3121, and ask to be transferred to their offices. If you are not sure who represents you, go to www.senate.govand www.house.govto learn your policymakers’ names, or ask the Capitol Hill Operator to assist you.
Once connected to the office, identify yourself to the receptionist as a constituent. Clearly state your first and last name, your hometown and why you are calling. Ask to speak to a staff member who handles health care issues. The receptionist may ask that you leave your comments with him/her. If that is the case, please do so and ask for the name of the person handling health issues for future reference. If transferred to the health staffer or staffer’s voicemail personally, reintroduce yourself and the topic you are calling to discuss.
Make a few brief points about the issue, why it concerns you and your community, and why the Senator or Representative should take action. Use the Eye CAN website for guidance for the call. Limit the call to no more than five minutes, unless the staffer asks you questions or seems engaged in the conversation.
Clearly state your request of the Senator or Representative(ex: support appropriations, vote for or against a specific measure, join the Congressional Vision Caucus, etc). Ask for a written response via email or mail.
Be polite in your tone and languageand mindful of the staffer’s time. The staffer on the other end of the phone is overworked, overwhelmed, underpaid, and receives dozens – if not hundreds – of calls per day.
Thank the staffer for his/her time and express appreciation for his/her attentiveness and for recording your comments. Keep the name of the staffer and day/time of your call for your records in case you need to follow up.
Share the results of your call on the Eye Did web page. If you receive a response from the Senator or Representative, share that information with the other Eye CAN advocates.
Be sure to keep in touch with the offices of your Members of Congress to establish a relationship. Make yourself available as a local resource on eye care and vision loss issues. There are times when you and an elected official will have to “agree to disagree,” but you may find that the policymaker is supportive and helpful on other matters.
You may also reach your Representatives and Senators by email:
Email your U.S. representative through: http://www.house.gov/writerep;
Email your two U.S. senators through: http://www.senate.gov.
Download a copy of the Call Tips document