While summer may be winding down, there is still plenty of time left to help make a difference! Between August 2nd and September 9th Congress is taking their summer recess. Now is the perfect time to schedule a visit with your local senator to make your voice heard!
Why would you do that? Your senator’s biggest responsibility is to represent their constituent’s concerns and needs. Meeting with your senator gives them the opportunity to hear from the people they are supporting and gives you the opportunity to advocate for the causes important to you. The causes that your senator hears about are going to be the causes that they will be more apt to support with funding and by furthering legislation. That can mean more awareness, improving health care, funding for research, treatments, standing up for our rights, and our needs being represented. Sharing your personal experience with the cause you are representing makes a huge difference. All causes are important, but the causes we care about the most are usually ones that we have a personal connection to or that we have heard a story of someone being personally affected by.
Why now? By visiting your senator during August or the beginning of September you will have the opportunity to talk to them about your causes right before they return to the capitol to make big choices that will impact the future of your conditions!
What should you say to your senators? Reach out to the causes you want to represent and they will email you back with topics regarding funding and legislation that are important to them. This will give you a good idea of what to advocate for after sharing your own personal experience. It can be easy to think that your senator might not be interested in meeting with you or to wonder what you can do to make a meeting more likely. The honest truth is that you mean more to them than any lobbyist and you are truly their first priority! They want to represent and help you! Reach out by phone or email to schedule a meeting and they will either meet with you in person or have a person from their team meet with you. A friend met with her representative’s team last year and her representative wound up heading up efforts for her cause later that year! If you would like to learn more click on the link below to watch Project Sleep’s Advocacy Webinar! It is a great resource that leaves no question on the process unanswered!
How to take action:
-Find your two senators’ local office at www.senate.gov
-Call/email to schedule local meetings on behalf of the the causes that are important to you(sleep, rare disease, dysautonomia, etc.)
-Reach out to your causes to let them know you have a meeting
-Print leave behind material on the causes to bring to the meeting
-Research or check in with the causes you are representing to find what funding or legislation they are trying to achieve
-Share your story to ask for support
-Get their business card and send thank you email afterwards
-Let your causes know how the meeting went
Things to mention:
-CDC funding for conditions important to you that impact many Americans like sleep, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, headache, chronic pain. Example please support a line-item appropriation of at least $250,000 for fiscal year 2020 to reinvigorate the sleep public health program at the CDC.
-Healthcare policy(copay cards, preexisting conditions)
-Funding for NIH
-Importance of your condition being on the department of defense conditions research list. Only the conditions on the list receive funding making it extremely important to advocate for your conditions.
How to make your meeting effective:
-Check in on time or early
-Introduce yourself and SHARE YOUR STORY
-Make it local, talk about where you live, go to school, work
-Explain your perspective and why you are interested
-Introduce your personal causes and prioritize the CDC
-leave behind material
-Thank them for their time
-Get a business card so that you can send an email thank you
Be the change you want to see in this world!