Always schedule an appointment in advance.
- Time is valuable in legislative offices. Contact the office 2-4 weeks in advance to arrange a meeting—do not drop by and expect to meet with someone.
- It is best to email your meeting request and to follow up with a phone call and fax.
- Do not be surprised/disappointed if your meeting is reassigned to staff. Due to legislators’ busy schedules this is may happen. View this as an opportunity to building a relationship with the staff in your legislator’s office.
If your goal is to set up meetings with your Congressional delegation (your Representative and one or both of your Senators) at their home office during the “District or State Work Periods,” make sure you consult the House and Senate calendars. For your Representative see the calendar at www.house.gov/legislative/. For your Senator see www.senate.gov/legislative/calendars.htm.
Meeting Request & Follow-Up
After submitting a meeting request via e-mail, it is important to follow-up on that request with a phone call a week later. Call the Washington D.C. or home office of your Senators and or Representative; identify yourself, where you are from, the school, university or other organization you represent, including the National Council for the Social Studies. Tell the receptionist that you are following up on a schedule request and ask him or her to direct your call to the appropriate staff person. When you are connected, again identify yourself and your affiliation. If the scheduler is not available, leave a clear, concise message. An example of a conversation would be:
Keep in mind that this call could very likely result in a conversation with the staffer assigned education issues in the Senator’s or Representative’s office. You should have a similar conversation with the staffer, and accept any offer of a meeting with him or her in the place of the Member.
Determine Meeting Logistics
Tell the scheduler or staffer if anyone will be attending the meeting with you. Establish a time and place to meet. Keep in mind most meetings are scheduled in 15-minute increments. Don't forget to thank the scheduler. If speaking with a staffer, confirm her/his fist and last name, thank her/him and express that you are looking forward to meeting.
Realize Meeting May be With Staff Person
Please realize that most likely you will be meeting with a staff person, not the Member of Congress. The scheduler may tell you this when you first set up the meeting; don’t sound disappointed – staff are the ones really doing the work!