With US Senators and Representatives heading home for August Recess, now is the perfect time to reach out to them. During the month, elected officials go home to meet with their constituents and work on local interests. It’s the perfect time to connect with your Members of Congress, discuss current issues of importance to the legal profession, or even follow up on correspondence from ABA Day.
COVID-19 and racial equity have dominated Congress’ attention all year, which will likely continue through the November elections. At the same time, Congress still needs to meet several important deadlines and conduct routine business. Elected officials have even said that they want to hear from their constituents on how to prioritize issues with the remaining time left in the 116th Congress.
August Recess is therefore an excellent time to build upon or even start a relationship with your federal officials.
So, we have put together a few reminders and updates to help you show value to your elected officials:
Ready to advocate on a particular issue?
Great, there are some issues that definitely need your support! Since there are only five months left in this Congress and a lot of competing demands for time and resources, it is helpful to focus on issues already moving in pending legislation. Here are some key issues of interest to the profession on which the ABA is advocating:
2) Broadband Access for Rural Communities: An Access to Justice Issue
The House has already included each of these issues in its COVID-19 relief package that passed on May 12th (H.R. 6800, the Heroes Act). The Senate is expected to release its relief bill this week and negotiations on a final bill are already contentious. We need your help to ensure these important issues are included in that final bill. Click on the links above to see emails you can send directly from our messaging portal that are guaranteed to make it through congressional firewalls. There are also tweets you can post that will automatically include your Senators’ or Representative’s handle. If you want to call their office, see a phone script before being patched through to their district offices.
Did you Participate in ABA Day?
Thank you! You did a great job building on the foundation of your congressional relationship. Whether you reached out over email, social media, phone, or teleconference/videoconference, you established or renewed an ongoing collaboration. Having allowed for three months to pass, now is a good time to circle back on the issues you discussed. We recommend doing this by email, so we have some form emails you can edit if you reached out digitally or met over teleconference. If you would like to take it a step further and request a teleconference meeting to discuss your issues, we are happy to help. Start by sending a personized version of this email requesting a meeting and reach out to us, so we can supply you with the latest information and resources.
Want to Build or Start Your Relationship with Elected Officials?
August Recess is a unique time during the election cycle when most federal officials are both campaigning and making policy at the same time. That means as issue matter experts and constituents, elected officials are actively seeking your perspectives to form their strategy.
If you have an existing relationship, reach out to your contacts to let them know you are available to discuss issues surrounding the legal profession; especially issues surrounding your specialty.
If you are looking to start a relationship with your Senators or Representative, August is the perfect time for that too. They are looking for constituents of all levels of expertise to align themselves with during the coming months. Reach out to their staffs and introduce yourself. Congressional staffers are the issue matter experts who inform the elected officials on matters of interest to the legal profession, and they have the ears and respect of their bosses. Offer to help with issues you are familiar with and send them some information we have in our toolkit to establish credibility. We can help you grow from there.
No matter what you do, we want to work with you to accomplish things as part of the collective voice of the legal profession. If you meet with someone, let us know by emailing us here, so our lobbying team can mention it during the next meeting they have with that office.
For more information and resources, please see the resources we have compiled for you in the ABA August Recess Toolkit. Also please feel free to reach out with any questions directly to the GAO staff.