The Most Important Day
The Disability Policy Seminar will culminate with a full day of in-person visits to Congressional leaders on Capitol Hill.
The challenges and realities facing the disability community demand our continued focus and diligent advocacy.
Lifelines like Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, Supplemental Security Income, and Social Security are threatened. These federal programs provide the key to community living and inclusion for people with I/DD across the nation. Any cuts to these lifelines would be devastating.
These factors lead to one inescapable conclusion—we must mobilize like never before. To make a difference, we must join together as a collective movement to ensure that our lifeline programs and civil rights are protected.
Meet with Your Representatives
Every effort must be made to meet with the entire delegation from your state (depending on the size of your state delegation and the number of Seminar participants from your state.) For many states, the state chapter of The Arc, the University Center, or Developmental Disability Council will set up meetings with Senators and Representatives from your state.
If no one is coordinating the appointments, you must make your own. Here are some suggestions:
● Plan to meet with your two Senators and your Representative
● To find your elected officials, enter your zip code here.
● Allow at least one hour between meetings. A meeting usually lasts about 20-30 minutes. It can take up to 30 minutes to travel between House and Senate buildings.
● Security can take between 15-30 minutes.
How to Make Your Appointments
You should begin making your appointments at least 3 weeks in advance of your visit to Washington. After your arrival in Washington, call each office on Monday to confirm the specifics of your visit.
To make your appointments:
1. Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202.224.3121. Ask for your Senator/Representative.
2. Ask to speak with the scheduler. (Press to meet with the Member directly. If that is not possible, meet with the legislative assistant (LA) who handles disability issues. Be sure to get the name of the legislative assistant.)
Accessibility Requests for your Appointments
To schedule accessibility requests (including Sign Language Services) for your hill visit on Wednesday you will need to request those services through the senator or representative’s office that you are planning to visit. You can find more information here http://www.aoc.gov/accessibility-services. They should accommodate all requests.
Tips for the Hill Meetings
Here are some tips to help you through your meetings with your Senators and Representative:
● Use the talking points you receive at the Seminar to help guide your conversation. Be sure to learn the tips at the Seminar for what to say and do.
● Talk about what’s most important to you! Whether that’s Medicaid, Social Security, or Education—talk about how your life, the life of your family, or the people you serve are affected.
● Create a document with a picture and a brief story to help the staff put a face to the issue, and to understand how people are affected by laws and policies. See this example.
● Wear business clothes for your meetings.
● Fill out a legislative contact form for each meeting.
Remember, Members of Congress enjoy meeting with their constituents. They do look forward to hearing your views. They will expect you to know more about the subject than they do. Don’t be afraid to make those appointments now!
Tell Us About Your Meetings
Please select a member of your group to complete the Legislative Contact Form for each meeting and then enter the information online here.