How to Visit a Member of Congress

Meet in-person at your lawmakers' offices to promote chemistry.

Find Your Policymaker's Name and Contact Information

  • Members of Congress want to hear from their constituents and won't pay much attention to someone else's voters.

Schedule the Meeting

  • Phone the district or D.C. offices to find out the scheduler’s name and any special instructions for scheduling a meeting.

  • Follow up with a call.
    If you don’t hear back in a few days, call 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.”

Prepare for the Meeting

  • Find 2 or 3 local section members to attend with you. At least one person must be a constituent.
  • Watch our video and learn how to conduct a successful meeting.

Vimeo ID: 230160971

  • Research your elected official. Our action center has information about your policymaker’s bio, committees, and staff.
  • Plan how you'll describe your research and the issues you want to discuss.
    • Make sure to avoid unnecessary jargon and don't "talk down" to legislators and their staff. These individuals are smart and well informed, but they usually won't have science backgrounds.
    • If you're going as a team, plan beforehand who will take the lead and how you'll each effectively share your main points.

Attend the Meeting

  • Be on time, and be flexible. The meeting can be held anywhere: hallway, cafeteria, elevator, outer office, member’s inner sanctum.
  • Recognize that you'll likely be talking to a staff member—but be ready if the legislator comes in.
  • Be succinct.
    • You will have 15 quality minutes: limit your message and stay on point.
    • Describe the importance of the issue to your work, employer, or state with anecdotes or personal narratives.
    • Let the office staff ask questions.
    • Conclude and reiterate top points, making sure to capture follow-ups or commitments.

After the Meeting

  • Thank them verbally for meeting with you.
  • Follow up by writing a thank you note to your legislator and the staff person who spoke with you. This is especially important if your goal is to establish a relationship.
  • Touch base with office contacts every three months to help build a relationship.