How to Get Ready for Monday's Tele-Town Hall with Rep. Frelinghuysen

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.


4. Don't let yourself get cut off! In the last two calls, several people got cut off when trying to ask followup questions. Last time, one caller was very successful in getting our representative to answer his question on HJ 43. His strategy? The second that Rep. Frelinghuysen started veering away from his question, he interrupted and respectfully insisted that his question be addressed. Be polite yet firm, and be prepared to let Rep. Frelinghuysen know if he isn't answering your question. (Read a transcript of his last tele-town hall, on February 28, here).

5. The Congressman has certainly been busy since then. Check out what he’s been up to so you’re in the know before the call tomorrow night and we get the answers we deserve.

Rep. Frelinghuysen steered a defense-spending bill through the House, increasing 2017 defense spending by $10.9 billion over 2016. The Congressman’s rationalization for the increase is to “rebuild our military”, which, according to the Congressman -- and although we spend more than the next seven nations combined -- is crumbling. Already at 54% of the budget and in the President’s sights for a huge increase next year, how does he plan to fund these huge increases?

The Congressman’s latest newsletter called the GOP’s efforts to pass Trumpcare (ACHA) through House committee, without public hearings or a CBO score, open and transparent. So far he’s expressed no concerns that the plan is estimated to cause anywhere between five and 15 million Americans to:

— lose their insurance
— shift an enormous amount of wealth from the poor to the top 1%
— disproportionately impact working class people
— undo the Medicaid expansion
— defund Planned Parenthood.

Will he support the bill as is? How can the process be open and transparent if the public doesn't get a chance to ask questions and state their concerns?