It's like training a puppy. Keep it simple, focus on one thing at a time, and don't give up when he pees on the floor.
Our elected politicians will have a general philosophy (Republican vs. Democrat) but what matters most is how they vote on individual pieces of legislation. When you tell them how you want them to vote on a particular bill it has a huuuge impact because they hear from so few of their constituents. Your phone call or email, targeting a particular vote, has a significant influence on your congressman or senator.
Here is a list of tips on how you can have a more impact than 1000 of your right-wing neighbors by taking a few minutes every day to engage your elected representatives.
- Keep abreast of the bills in congress. Go to GovTrack to sign up to receive alerts and find the status of legislation that you most care about. GovTrack also tells you which committees your representative sits on.
- When there is a bill before the House or Senate that you care about call your representative or senator and tell their aid how you want them to vote. You can get their contact information Here.
- Be aware of the committees you senators or congressman participate in. Their vote on whether or not to allow a bill out of committee can kill a piece of legislation.
- When your legislator sees a strong trend from phone calls about a particular bill it will make them think twice about how they vote. Just this year we've seen Representative Newhouse change his stand on healthcare due to strong constituent feedback.