Communicating with Congress: A Hill Staffer’s Perspective

communicating with congress

Sergio Espinosa, Legislative Director to Representative Gene Green (D-TX) in the US House of Representatives, joined us for a live webinar where he shared his expert advice for the best way to communicate with a Congressional office. Here are a few excerpts from the interview. You can watch the full webinar here.

How important is constituent correspondence to your office?

Constituent correspondence is a major priority for Congressman Green and our office. He puts a lot of emphasis on providing timely, accurate responses to constituents, because issues change, bills get passed. It’s of major importance to him.

How does your office process, receive and reply to policy campaign correspondence that comes via emails, phone calls and social media?

If we start receiving very similar letters from multiple constituents, we would identify them as a policy campaign effort and write a response to address the issue area. If it’s a new issue and we’ve received a large number, 30, 40, 50 letters, we would bring it to the Congressman’s attention because this issue that hasn’t had this kind of attention previously.

What is your office’s approach to receiving a large volume of calls, and how does that type of volume attract the attention of Congressman Green?

I feel it’s the responsibility of every staffer to be able to interact with constituents on phone calls, and I still do if we’re receiving a large volume of calls. For noteworthy calls, the Congressman personally calls them back and has a conversation as to what can we do to help them or explain a policy area.

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What are some suggestions for our listeners to incorporate into their grassroots advocacy and public policy engagement to promote success when engaging offices like yours?

The simplest is numbers. The more constituent letters we receive asking Congressman Green to cosponsor a bill, the more persuaded he is to do so. Being able to personalize correspondence by how it’s written, using “I”, or adding your own personal anecdote is also very effective.

Make it Personal: How Personal Stories Engage Advocates

For more insights, including what Espinosa says is the best way to reach a staffer for the first time, check out the webinar here.

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