Posted by Ben Shlesinger  | 

Members of Congress spend most of their time in Washington, D.C., but when Congress is not in session, they go home to their districts. These times are called “district work periods” or “recess.” This is when public officials can meet with their constituents locally rather than in the nation’s capital.

Please keep in mind that most of the district work periods center around holidays, so your elected official might not be available each and every day. Also, the larger the district or state, the more likely the member of Congress is to visit multiple cities instead of staying in just one. But if you do your research, you should be able to meet them with some frequency.

The first thing you should do is follow all of the social media accounts of your elected officials. Social media is a good way to find the general information about members of Congress and to see where they stand on specific issues. Remember, just because you “follow” elected officials on Twitter or “like” them on Facebook, it doesn't mean you endorse or will vote for them. It just means you want to see the information they publish.

The next step is to visit your elected official’s website and sign up for their newsletter. A lot of times, members of Congress will use a newsletter to notify constituents of upcoming town hall meetings or public appearance at events like parades or county fairs. When this information is published, the member of Congress is asking you to attend…so please do.

The final step is to simply call one of their district offices and ask if there are any public events coming up, and if not, to be signed up for any lists that will let you know when something is planned.

Town hall meetings and parades can be great venues to meet an elected official but you need to do your research first. When I worked for a Member of Congress, a lot of the town hall meetings covered specific topics, such as senior citizen issues, the environment, or health care…to name a few. If the topic of an upcoming town hall meeting is specific to a topic that is not relevant to you, you might not get the opportunity to discuss your desired topic.

Overall, these are a few good tips on how to meet your members of Congress locally. It might not happen immediately but with dedication and a little bit of work you should be able to meet with them and share your story.

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