District Office Visit
Request a meeting with a legislator in his or her district office to discuss important legislative initiatives identified by ACS.
ACS orchestrates a number of these meetings annually during congressional recesses.
Congress has historically recessed around federal holidays, in August, during elections, and between the elections and mid-January. During these recesses, members of Congress are likely to be available for meetings in their state/district offices. ACS members are encouraged to use these opportunities to meet with their legislators locally.
This activity is only effective if constituents request the meeting and participate in the visit.
In requesting meetings, remember that you can meet with either the legislator or staff member, and staff meetings are often much easier to get. Also, you can do a cluster of these meetings in one day.
ACS works to encourage and facilitate these meetings by providing biographical and legislative information on the federal lawmakers that represent you.
1. Assemble a team
- Find 3 or 4 local section members to attend.
- At least one person should be a constituent.
2. Set a date
- Start with a flexible date in mind
- Best if date coincides with legislator break. Federal holidays and the month of August are often good times, as Congress is in recess.
OPA can help with this, or check online.
3. Schedule the meeting
- Find your lawmakers contact information.
Search for your Senators and Representative. Their Web sites should list contact information for their district office or offices.
- Phone those offices to ask find out the scheduler’s name and any special instructions for scheduling a meeting. If they ask for a written request, fill out and print our sample request letter.
- Follow up with a call.
If you don’t hear back in a few days or promised to call in your fax, call the Washington office and request a meeting.
Sample script: “Hello, my name is Dr. Millie A. Mole, and I am a constituent of Senator X. I understand that Congress is in recess the week of ___, and would like to schedule a meeting with the Senator at his/her district office during that week. I plan to discuss federal funding for scientific research & innovation.”
- Tell us!
Email us about your new meeting. Tell us your name and contact information, the office you are visiting, and the date and time of your meeting.
4. Plan your visit
- Check out our tips for a successful meeting and 25-minute video about successful meetings.
- Research your member.
- Plan a way to tell staff the story of your work & research, emphasizing support from federal funding.
- Contact the Office of Public Affairs to further discuss your meeting’s purpose, and get a copy of talking points ( ) and leave-behinds
5. Follow up afterwards
- Thank them for the meeting – verbally and via email.
Reiterate key points and a unique meeting experience.
(Conventional mail can be impractical for legislative offices due to security concerns.)
- Touch base with office contacts every three months to help build the relationship.
- Report the visit in your local section newsletter or website.