Calls and letters to your political reps are essential in any campaign to effect change. But Letters to the Editor can be a powerful way to reach fellow constituents, keep an issue in the public eye (and on the radar of elected officials) and influence the outcome of elections and government policy. Here are some tips from Liz Haigney Lynch on the best way to deliver your message — and get your letter published.
A Few Basics:
• Adhere to any guidelines that the publication specifies, such as maximum length.
• Mention elected officials by name, but avoid name-calling and personal attacks.
• A good rule of thumb: Critique positions, not people.
• Stay concise. 200 to 300 words is a good target.
For months, we've been trying to get Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen to hold a face-to-face town hall meeting with his constituents. He has consistently refused to hold a public meeting in the district, even when we provided the venues.
It's time to bring the voices of NJ-11 constituents to Washington DC.
On Wednesday, April 5th, join New Jersey voters from across the state for a trip to DC to visit our elected officials while Congress is in session. We will visit with members of New Jersey's congressional delegation, including Representatives and Senators from both the Democratic and Republican parties, to share our support for progressive positions on healthcare, the environment, immigrants' rights, and constitutional rights, and to rally on the Capitol steps.
Sponsored by NJ 11th For Change and BluewaveNJ, buses will depart from Montclair and Morristown at 7 AM, with additional locations to be added based on demand. Buses will return at approximately 9 PM.
We hope you'll join us. For more information and to reserve your seat, click here.Read more
Call to Action!
After canceling due to the snowstorm, Rep. Frelinghuysen will be holding his next "telephone town hall" Monday.
Make no mistake -- a short telephone meeting where our congressman's staff vets the questions before they are asked and followup questions are cut off does not replace the need for a face-to-face public forum. But we can be ready to press him for answers. Some callers have been more successful than others in respectfully resisting Rep. Frelinghuysen's attempts at brush-offs and evasions. How did they do it? Below are tips on how to prepare relevant, well-informed questions and follow up effectively. We've also included a rundown of what our representative has been up to so you'll be equipped to ask timely questions. We hope you'll join us on the call Tuesday night to insist that our elected representative answer the questions of his constituents.
1. Sign up for the call here.
2. Prepare your questions in advance. Post them our Facebook page to share with others and for feedback. We'll be posting live updates on the call on Twitter @nj11forchange. Engage with us and share your thoughts and reactions to the call as it happens! Only 10-15 constituents are likely to have a chance to ask their questions, so let's work together to make sure that the questions that are asked are as detailed and specific as possible.
3. Our Congressman is the chair of the House Appropriations committee. This makes him one of the most powerful and important members of Congress, as he is in charge of approving all budgetary matters. Ask questions related to his position as appropriations chair when possible. For example, will he or won't he defund the Coast Guard? Will he or won't he cut the EPA by 30%? A statement from Rodney Frelinghuysen about not funding the border wall or not cutting the EPA could stop that legislation in his tracks.
Although Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself yesterday from any investigations involving Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, we urge Rep. Frelinghuysen to call for his resignation. We can not allow America's top justice official to lie or withhold information under oath.
Earlier in the day, Rep. Frelinghuysen was among several lawmakers who called for Mr. Sessions to recuse himself after it was revealed he withheld information about his meetings with Russian ambassadors while being questioned during Senate confirmation hearings.
While we appreciate that Rep. Frelinghuysen noted Mr. Sessions' contradictions under oath, actions speak louder than words. We ask Mr. Frelinghuysen to put partisanship aside and demand an independent investigation into Russia's involvement by co-sponsoring HR 356, which would establish a National Commission on Foreign Interference in the 2016 election.Read more