ASHA works with members of Congress and other important partners in health policy to educate policy makers about the urgency of sexual health, the need for additional research, and the importance of frontline support for sexual health programs in our communities. You can help ASHA make the case for sound sexual health policy by contacting your elected officials. Legislators listen to their constituents. Legislators are very interested in effectively articulated concerns expressed by the voters they represent.

The most effective communication remains the personal message, whether by mail, visit, or phone, from a concerned constituent. Click here for points you can make with your elected officials.

You can identify your senators and representatives along with contact information on the Senate and House websites.

Letters

A poll of House and Senate staff members asked what form of communication makes the most impression on them and the legislators for whom they work. The overwhelming response was articulate, thoughtful and timely letters from constituents. Letters should be kept short and to the point. The most effective letters tie the relevant issue to the legislator’s home state or district. If you know how STD funding levels will have a local impact, be sure to include this information in your communication.

Address for letters to Senators:
The Honorable (Name)
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator (last name):

Address for letters to Representatives:
The Honorable (Name)
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representative (last name):

For correspondence to a Senate committee or to a Senate committee chair:
(Name of Committee)
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

or

The Honorable (Name)
Chairman, Committee on (Name)
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Visits

Meeting with a member of Congress or congressional staff is a very effective way to convey a message about a specific legislative issue. Legislators are real people, elected by you to represent your interests. Most are extremely personable and will genuinely enjoy meeting you. Appointments can be arranged by calling or writing the legislator’s district or Washington office. Always identify yourself as a constituent when asking for an appointment. If the legislator is unavailable, the appropriate staff person may offer to meet with you—don’t pass up this opportunity to initiate a relationship.

Tips When Meeting with a Member of Congress

  • Be Prompt and Patient: When it is time to meet, be punctual and be patient. It is not uncommon for a congressperson to be late, or to have a meeting interrupted, due to the member’s crowded schedule. If interruptions do occur, be flexible. When the opportunity presents itself, continue your meeting with a member’s staff.
  • Be Prepared: Have your facts lined up prior to the meeting. Whenever possible, bring to the meeting information and materials supporting your position. Always have concisely written documents or clear graphics that reinforce your position and oral presentation.
  • Assume No Knowledge: Members and staff usually know little or nothing about our issues. Be sure to explain all acronyms, programs, funding sources and which agencies administer the funds.
  • Localize the Issue: Members of Congress want to represent the best interests of their district or state. Wherever possible, demonstrate the connection between what you are requesting and the interests of the member’s constituency.
  • Be Responsive: Be prepared to answer questions or provide additional information, in the event the member expresses interest or asks questions.
  • Ask Questions: Meetings should be seen as two-way streets with a two-way information flow. If possible, take the opportunity to find out where the member and his/her staff stand on our issues.
  • Follow Up: Follow up the meeting with a thank you letter that outlines the different points covered during the meeting, and send along any additional information and materials requested.

Phone Calls

Unless you have a personal relationship with the legislator you are calling, ask to be referred to the staff member responsible for health issues or funding. Keep in mind that congressional offices receive hundreds of calls each day — be brief and to the point. You can always follow up with more information by mail. To reach any Washington congressional office, phone 202-224-3121 and ask for your legislator by name.

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