Saturday, October 5, 2019

When to contact your member of Congress

There's a saying among Members of Congress:
Vote your conscience first
your constituency second,
and your party third.
If a Member of Congress believes something is a moral imperative, even differing from those who elected them or supported them, then they should do what they fully convinced is right.

Sometimes local issues have national implications, and even though the party may be going a different way on something, the Member should first vote in accordance with their home interest.

Sometimes issues are neither matters of conscience nor of particular interest to their home constituency, but their party may take a strong stand on something. Then they typically vote with their party as they are assuredly reminded to do.

There are times—not often—when even the party does not whip a vote. They may refer back to conscience or however a Member best sees fit to vote on something.

When a Member of Congress is voting according to priority 2, their constituency, that's when contacting Members of Congress will have made the most difference.

Some people say it's not worth contacting Members of Congress because they get so much contact as it is, and it rarely makes it above the staff level. There is some truth to this as this often happens.

However, one does not know where a particular issue really lands on this spectrum of voting reasons with a Member of Congress. Even if publicly they may be towing the party line, they may still check in with their constituent services staff to see where their voting base is on a particular issue.

If you have strong opinions about a particular issue, let them know. Contact may also shift how they prioritize their vote.

There's an old saying, “If you want to make them see the light, make them feel the heat.”

U.S. House of Representatives
Contact your Representative

U.S. Senate
Contact your Senator

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