Make the Most of Your Hill Visits
The most important event to take place during the Disability Policy Seminar is the full day, Wednesday, April 13 that has been set aside for you to meet with your elected officials. Every effort must be made to meet with the entire delegation from your state on this day (depending on the size of your state delegation and the number of Seminar participants from your state).
Download - State Listing of Attendees (Excel)
A list of participants that agreed to share their name, organization & state is listed below. In many states, the state chapter of The Arc or the University Center or Developmental Disability Council will set up the meetings with the Senators and Representatives from your state.
If you find that no one is coordinating the appointments and you need to make your own, here are some suggestions for how to set up the meetings.
- Plan to meet with your two Senators and your Representative
- To find your elected officials enter your zip code here
- Allow plenty of time between meetings (at least one hour). A meeting usually last about 20-30 minutes and it can take up to 30 minutes to travel between House and Senate buildings.
- It can take between 15-30 minutes to get through security in the morning.
How To Make Your Appointments
To make your appointments, simply call the U.S. Capitol switchboard (202) 224-3121 and ask for the Senator/Representative you want. Ask for the scheduler, press to meet with the Member directly, and if that is not possible, with the legislative assistant (LA) who handles that handles disability issues. Get the name of the LA during your call.
- You should begin making your appointments at least 3 weeks in advance of your visit to Washington.
- After your arrival in Washington, call each office on Monday to confirm the specifics of your visit.
Tips about the Hill meetings
- You will receive talking points at the Seminar to help you know what to say at the meetings.
- Many times the most important thing you need to do is talk about how Medicaid, Social Security, Education or the issue of your choice, affects your life, or the life of your family member, or the people you serve.
- Creating a document with a picture and brief story is an effective way to help Hill staff put a face to the issue and understand how people are affected by the laws and policies. Here is a sample
- The Seminar program includes sessions on how to do visits and a chance to meet with others from your state and further plan what to say and do at the meetings.
- You should wear business clothes for the meetings.
- It is important to fill out a legislative contact form for each meeting
Remember, Members of Congress enjoy meeting with their constituents. They do look forward to hearing your views. They will expect you to know more about the subject than they do. They will listen and appreciate your views. So don’t be afraid, make those Hill appointments now!