Meet Your Senator Toolkit

Learn how you can request a meeting with your senator.

A printable version of the toolkit is here.

Contacting Your Senate Offices to Schedule a Meeting

  • Identify Senate Office 
    • You can find information about the local offices of your senators on their websites. You can find their individual websites here:  
    • For U.S. Senators: Click on your senator’s NAME here to be brought directly to their website.  
  • Request a Meeting
    • Since Congress is on hiatus until Labor Day, many of their staff are back in their home districts, which makes this a great time to reach them. Most legislators’ websites include a “Request for Meeting” form that you can fill out online OR offer an email address for the person in charge of scheduling their appointments. Before calling your lawmaker’s office, fill out the form or send an email request for a meeting. If you are sending an email, it should contain the following:
      • Your name and address (to show that you are a constituent);
      • The issues you wish to discuss;
      • The local office you wish to visit;
      • The dates that you can meet (include several dates or a wide time frame so that there is flexibility in scheduling the meeting)  
    • Follow up your request with a phone call. A day or two after you anticipate your communication has arrived, follow up with a phone call to your legislator’s  local office. Ask for the person in charge of scheduling your lawmaker’s appointments. *A Sample Email and Phone Script is below
  • Prepare for Meeting 
    • Research: Before you meet a policy maker, it can be helpful to research these topics:
      • The policy maker’s personal history: Read the bio provided on their website to get a sense of their personal and professional experience and to identify opportunities to make a personal connection (i.e., do they have young children? Are they a grandparent?).
      • Issues that are important to them: Look through their website for issues that are highlighted. Find out if they use social media. What do they post about?
    • Gather: Determine who will join you for the meeting.
      • Gathering a diverse group of constituents to attend the meeting is one powerful way to make the most of your visit. As you prepare for meetings with policy makers, know who will be attending the meeting and what role each person will play. Clarify beforehand who will be the primary spokesperson, the storyteller, and the notetaker, and who will offer the “out of field perspective” (this is a great role for someone speaking on the importance of privacy and online safety for other sectors). Everyone should have a specific role during the meeting, and each role should have talking points the group develops and agrees to before the meeting, which bring us to the next step.
  • Develop and practice your talking points
    •  Write down bullets of the main points you want to get across and personalize your comments and provide local context to help illustrate why it’s important to protect kids online. 
  • Decide what questions you want to ask the policy maker or staffer
  • Brainstorm possible answers to questions you will get asked during your visit
  • Discuss ideas for how you will follow up after the meeting
  • Follow-up
    • After your meeting, be sure to send a thank you letter to your lawmaker and/or your lawmaker’s staff. Thank them for taking the time to meet with you and re-iterate the asks that you made in your meeting. Your legislator and their staff will appreciate it – and it is a great way to remind them about your requests!

Sample Email

Dear Senator [LAST NAME],

As a constituent in [STATE] I am writing to request a meeting with you and your aides to discuss several issues that affect children with your state. It’s hard enough to raise kids without worrying about manipulative design that keeps kids anxiously checking their devices or the risks of cyberbullying, inappropriate content, and strangers lurking on supposedly kid-safe games. It’s time to hold Big Tech accountable for making parenting even harder.

We are in a crisis. We cannot let Big Tech regulate itself. Kids’ safety online will only improve if guardrails are put in place and platforms are required to treat children like children. I will be available to meet with you at your [LOCATION] office on [DATES YOU ARE AVAILABLE] and would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about these issues. I can be reached at the phone numbers listed below and will look forward to hearing from you regarding a time we can meet. Thank you for your consideration

Respectfully,
[YOUR NAME]
[YOUR ADDRESS]
M: [YOUR MOBILE PHONE]
O: [YOUR OFFICE PHONE]
H: [YOUR HOME PHONE]

 

Sample Phone Script: 

Hello, my name is [NAME] and I am a resident of [CITY]. I am calling to request a meeting with you and your aides to discuss protecting children and teens online and how it’s time to hold Big Tech accountable for making parenting even harder. I will be available to meet with you at your [LOCATION] office on [DATES YOU ARE AVAILABLE] and would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about these issues. Is Senator [NAME] available to meet with me on [DATE]? 

If they are not available on those dates ask: 

Could you let me know some dates that he/she or a staff person might be available to meet with me? 

Write down the date, time and person you spoke with. If you have not heard back in a few days, call again to follow up. Be polite but persistent!