How to Visit a Member of Congress

Nothing beats in-person meetings at your lawmakers' offices when it comes to promoting chemistry.

1. 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.

2. 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.
    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, 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.”

  • Let us know
    Tell us know your name and contact information, the office you are visiting, and the date and time of your meeting.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. Let ACS know about your advocacy actions!

Take Action

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Members: Join us to stay informed and advocate for science.

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Why Advocate for Chemistry?

Chemists solve some of the world’s biggest challenges, but we can’t do it alone. By volunteering to engage with policymakers, you can build support for funding and policies that help transform lives through the power of chemistry. More »