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Sat Jan 27, 2018, 01:10 PM

For those of you who write or call your members of Congress

What kind of response do you typically get?

I can't expect these people to personally read or respond to thousands (?) of letters, emails, and so forth, but I would think they have staffs who go through the stuff and at least tally it up somehow. All I've ever received back were form letters or emails "thanking" me for expressing my views -- and sometimes asking for a donation.

What's your experience with this? I'm thinking about a letter or email campaign to a couple of Congresspeople, but want to get a handle on the best way to get their attention.

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply For those of you who write or call your members of Congress (Original post)
grumpyduck Jan 2018 OP
rurallib Jan 2018 #1
Arkansas Granny Jan 2018 #4
Ohiogal Jan 2018 #9
rurallib Jan 2018 #17
samnsara Jan 2018 #2
MineralMan Jan 2018 #3
Bayard Jan 2018 #5
spanone Jan 2018 #6
marylandblue Jan 2018 #7
SeattleVet Jan 2018 #8
crazycatlady Jan 2018 #10
Ohiogal Jan 2018 #11
grumpyduck Jan 2018 #16
LeftInTX Jan 2018 #12
Happyhippychick Jan 2018 #13
grumpyduck Jan 2018 #14
Happyhippychick Jan 2018 #15
grumpyduck Jan 2018 #18
Happyhippychick Jan 2018 #19

Response to grumpyduck (Original post)

Sat Jan 27, 2018, 01:13 PM

1. pretty much a form letter based on the subject line picked for your letter

One problem is is that the response is often so long in coming I have no idea what I wrote about to begin with.
Usually I email and don't save them.

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Response to rurallib (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 27, 2018, 01:59 PM

4. That has been my experience, as well.

I havenít heard from either of my senators since I asked which shithole country their ancestors emigrated from. I didn't even get one of Rotten Cotton's cease and desist letters. https://www.salon.com/2018/01/19/tom-cottons-cease-and-desist-letter-to-an-activist-raises-serious-first-amendment-questions/

I'm really disappointed.

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Response to Arkansas Granny (Reply #4)

Sat Jan 27, 2018, 02:35 PM

9. Oh, man

I thought it sucked having a senator like Portman, but you're stuck with Cotton ....

You have my sincerest heartfelt sympathy.

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Response to Ohiogal (Reply #9)

Sat Jan 27, 2018, 08:34 PM

17. I see your Portman and Cotton with a Grassley and raise you an

Ernst.

I feel like I am paying for two people to undermine our constitution

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Response to grumpyduck (Original post)

Sat Jan 27, 2018, 01:19 PM

2. i use robo fax and text RESIST to 50409...from there you can contact..

....all your reps and your governor. You can send free unlimited faxes of your own words. I donate when I can because I use it a lot.

The only one who sent a written snail mail response is my GOP House Rep...who is retiring soon. My Senators are true blue....Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell. Sometimes they send me an email regarding the issue. I don't read the Reps letter....its canned..so I just toss it. besides it will be blah blah.

I also use robo fax to send my Senators Thank You's for taking a stand on an issue

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Response to grumpyduck (Original post)

Sat Jan 27, 2018, 01:28 PM

3. Unless you are known to the lawmaker, don't expect

anything but a form response. I get messages back from my House representative sometimes, because she knows me from her campaigns and other meetings. Not always, but if I ask a specific question that needs a response, I generally get one. I don't know if she writes it herself (doubtful) but it is to the point.

Senators, no. Don't expect an individualized response. State legislators typically will reply to you, if you had anything to do with helping them get elected. I get phone calls from one of mine from time to time in response to a communication.

There's a triage operation going on with correspondence from constituents. Staff has a list of people whose messages go to the actual person. The rest are handled in whatever way that elected official has set up for them to be handled. One thing that is certain, though: If you are not a constituent, nobody pays any attention to what you send. If you can't vote for the person, you're wasting your time, almost certainly.

For hot-button issues, messages are counted according to their positions on the issue and those numbers are reported to the elected official for consideration.

If you truly want to influence any elected official, you'll need to establish a relationship with that person, typically by donating to or working for their campaign. If you do that, you have a good chance of getting on "the list."

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Response to grumpyduck (Original post)

Sat Jan 27, 2018, 02:06 PM

5. No one ever answers Mitch McConnell's phone

And its always too full to leave a message. Emails via his site receive a canned response about 3 months later.

Emailing Rand Paul put me on his email list---eek.

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Response to grumpyduck (Original post)

Sat Jan 27, 2018, 02:14 PM

6. form letters saying how much they appreciate your contact...then they do whatever they were planning

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Response to grumpyduck (Original post)

Sat Jan 27, 2018, 02:21 PM

7. I usually get a live person who talks very nicely

Of course all my reps are dems, so I am usually supporting something they agree with already. But according to Indivisible it helps to let them know people care, so I call.

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Response to grumpyduck (Original post)

Sat Jan 27, 2018, 02:32 PM

8. Form letter (sometimes one that even addresses the issue I wrote about)...

usually followed shortly by a deluge of fundraising mail, from that person and a host of others groups and organizations.

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Response to grumpyduck (Original post)

Sat Jan 27, 2018, 02:42 PM

10. Usually form letters

Last time I called my congressman, it was about net neutrality (which he opposes). I explained to the staffer that as someone who sells items online, net neutrality is key to my business success. She was very defensive about it.

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Response to grumpyduck (Original post)

Sat Jan 27, 2018, 02:42 PM

11. It depends

Email for the first or second time gets you a form letter back on the subject you wrote about, giving you their pat answer on why they don't agree with you. Any more letters than that and you get nothing. I've written to Portman about twice a month for the last year now, and I get the feeling his aides must put my letters straight into the trash!

I've gotten through to a live person by phone exactly once. This person just took note of my side on the subject, and said thank you and hung up.

Other times I have left messages. A few times I got a recording telling me the voice mail box was full. That is very annoying!

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Response to Ohiogal (Reply #11)

Sat Jan 27, 2018, 08:28 PM

16. Well, according to the two posts above,

somebody forgot to tell those staffers who works for whom: those reps work for the voters and taxpayers, not the other way around.

Most of the time nowadays I catch myself thinking that people in Congress have totally forgotten who works for whom. And they also seem to have forgotten that oath of office they took. I'd love to think of a way to remind them, in public, in no uncertain way.

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Response to grumpyduck (Original post)

Sat Jan 27, 2018, 02:58 PM

12. Showing up at their office creates the most impact

If you call, they claim they log your call.

If you email, it helps to get their actual email versus the form email.

In my case, it depends. Cornyn's office actually reads the email and they usually respond within a fairly normal time frame. Their response isn't usually positive, but I can tell that the email has been read by the response.

Cruz's office often does not respond to email, but when they do, it appears that they are responding only to the subject line on the email. It took Cruz 4 months to respond to an email about Obamacare. When I got the response it was obvious that they were only responding to the subject line.

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Response to grumpyduck (Original post)

Sat Jan 27, 2018, 03:38 PM

13. Resist bot! Text "resist" to 50409

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Response to Happyhippychick (Reply #13)

Sat Jan 27, 2018, 04:19 PM

14. Sorry, what's that?

I'm a dinosaur in some ways.

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Response to grumpyduck (Reply #14)

Sat Jan 27, 2018, 04:42 PM

15. It's awesome! It will send letters and faxes to any of your representatives.

If you text the word "resist" to 50409 it will walk you through what to do. It's free and wonderful!

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Response to Happyhippychick (Reply #15)

Sun Jan 28, 2018, 08:16 PM

18. Okay, I just did

Hope I did it right and it didn't go off to Mars or Jupiter!

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Response to grumpyduck (Reply #18)

Sun Jan 28, 2018, 08:29 PM

19. Awesome, you'll love it

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