Find out who your representatives are! AALU has a program that can find your Members of Congress via your home address. This is particularly helpful for those who live near congressional district lines or live in populated areas like New York City that have a lot of districts in a small area. Try it out here.
Find out when your representatives are hosting town hall meetings. The Town Hall Project allows you to look up all of the scheduled events near your zip code, shows you when and where those events are, and even shows you where to RSVP. The Town Hall Project can be found here.
Prepare! Most people do not do their homework or rehearse their pitch ahead of time, which gives you an easy way to stand out in the crowd. A little preparation goes a long way.
Share a personal story. Members of Congress host town hall meetings to hear how policies are affecting their district and to hear what their constituents care about most. Share how life insurance and financial planning has benefitted a client and their family and how the profession has impacted the community. Use numbers if you can – AALU has life insurance fact sheets for all 50 states, as well as other talking points and information. Just ask, and we will be happy to provide them.
Be respectful, even if you’re frustrated. It doesn’t matter if you’re speaking to your Member of Congress, your neighbor, or your cashier at the supermarket – nobody is willing to listen to someone who’s being rude.
Meet the staff and follow up with them. The best advocates know that staffers are an extension of their boss and often understand niche issues. If you can, try to introduce yourself to the district director or chief of staff. Share your story, get their card, and don’t forget to follow up after the meeting.
Stay engaged with your Member. Email to check in with staff, call the office and thank them for working on your issue, or politely express frustration if they have not. Schedule in-person visits with the office once or twice a year. Let them know AALU members are paying attention!