Yo—you know what time it is?
That’s right. It’s early voting season, and y’all, those lines are looking GLORIOUSLY long. This is where we insert general statement where we don’t care who you vote for, as long as you vote.
Voting doesn’t have to be your thing, though.
It’s a tough conversation to have. As much as we WANT you to vote in favor of people you believe represent your values, we also understand that it’s your right NOT to vote. You don’t gotta.
Because here’s the thing. Even if you didn’t vote, or even if your guy didn’t win the race, the person that sits on city council, or in the capitol building, or in the courtroom, or in congress—
They are still accountable to you. They still have to take your feedback. They are still obligated to fight for legislation which represents your well-being, your safety and your needs. Sometimes they just need a bit of encouragement.
There are a lot of articles about the best way to get in touch with your representative, and honestly, they all have different preferences, so unless you ask their office specifically (which I recommend), it’s anyone’s guess as to how they prefer to take in your opinions. I generally prefer calling, because I like speaking to humans.
But we get that many people don’t want to reach out to a representative’s office because they’re afraid that whoever answers the phone will belittle them, or be rude. Scout’s honor, that has never been my experience. Even when I express opinions or make suggestions that the Senator has already said he doesn’t agree to, they document my response. They will occasionally offer an explanation of why he’s pushing for a different direction, but I always tell them that I understand the Senator’s position, that I don’t agree, and I would like my preference documented and shared with him.
And they do it. Always. It is their job—offices of elected officials have processes where they archive all correspondence with their office for reference. (But, seriously, they’re people, too. Rudeness never got anyone anywhere. If you’re kind to them, they should** be kind to you.)
So if you’re looking to contact your reps, here are the steps we usually take:
- Figure out who represents you. This website can help: https://fyi.capitol.texas.gov/Home.aspx
- Prepare to initiate contact. I try really hard to ensure that all correspondence is direct and to the point. I want whoever is taking down my comments to immediately and clearly understand my position and why I have it. I usually write out what I want to say so I don’t get nervous and forget. My script usually looks like this:“Hi there. My name is [YOUR NAME]. I live in zip code _____, and I’m calling to inform [REP NAME HERE] that I support/do not support [CONCEPT HERE], because I have personal experience with [THING], and believe it will [IMPACT HERE]. I’d like this concern shared with [REP NAME HERE] as soon as possible.”
- CONTACT! Do what floats your boat, or reach out and ask the best way to make sure your opinion is heard by the official. They’re going to ask for your zip code (to ensure you actually live in their district) and your name. Sometimes they’ll ask for your contact details—you can always politely decline.
There. You’ve done it. You’re so good at this!
While we are acutely aware that there are other factors at play in relationships with your reps, contacting your representative is a really easy way to keep pushing for even just a tiny bit of improvement. Get people to contact them with you, and there really, truly is the potential for meaningful change.
*Ironically, I’ve called Cruz’s office like 18 times today and actually haven’t gotten a human to confirm his favorite method of communication, so like IDK, maybe they got tired of me.
**I say should, because humans are erratic and unpredictable and they could be mean. They shouldn’t be. But they could. Take the high road. Tell them they have nice hair.