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Communicating with Congress: A Hill Staffer's Perspective

February 26, 2018

In this new digital age, many advocates continue to ask, "Does correspondence with an elected official make a difference?" On February 22, 2018, Phone2Action hosted a webinar asking just that, titled, Communicating with Congress: A Hill Staffer's Perspective. The webinar featured Sergio Espinosa, the legislative director for Congressman Gene Green of Texas. Espinosa acts as the main staffer handling policy issues in the Congressman's office.

Of the many topics covered in the webinar, Espinosa had some strong suggestions for advocates to incorporate into their practice when communicating with legislators:

  • Use data. If a member of Congress can see how an issue statistically affects constituents in their district, they will be more inclined to act on the request of an advocate.
  • Personalize messages. Espinosa also suggested that if the staff can see an advocate has taken time to explain how and why an issue is relevant to them, the letter will have more impact on the staffer and prompt a thoughtful response from the Congressman's office.

In addition, Espinosa spoke to the effect of multiple hits or posts on social media and their effect on catching a staffer's attention on a certain piece of legislation, regulation or issue. For example, Espinosa recalled that the hundreds of social media posts on net neutrality directed at Congressman Green influenced the staff to pay attention and respond quickly to the issue. It also praticulatly resonated with them because Congressman Green sits on the House Energy and Commerce, which oversees telecommunications policy.

Overall, Espinosa agreed that when the number of social media posts were high, the staff would communicate the intensity of messaging to the Congressman, who would be more likely to formulate a strong repsonse to the issue.

Interested in learning more? Watch the full Phone2Action webinar here or click on the video below.

Communicating with Congress: A Hill Staffer's Perspective