Friday, June 22, 2007

ALA 2 -- Advocacy

I spent all to day in the Advocacy Institute. The morning was a bit of a bust, but in the afternoon Stephanie Vance of Advocacy Associates, a lawyer and an ex Hill staffer led a lively and very practical workshop on lobbying Congress. I have always wondered whether I should visit, call, write or e-mail a Representative or Senator. Calling is for urgent issues, visits can really show you care, but what about e-mail versus a letter? I always thought that a letter showed more effort and therefore concern. But it turns out that since the anthrax scare of 2001 all mail to the Capitol is first sent to New Jersey where it is irradiated. This not only delays the mail, it also turns each sheet of paper brown, brittle, and leaves it with a strange smell. Vance therefore suggests e-mail or fax.

However, the particular mode of correspondence matters less than the content of your message: be specific, keep it short, and personalize it.

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