When face-to-face isn't possible, we ask you to call. Here's why.
Civic engagement is up, to the point where phone lines are busy or voice mail boxes are full. Still, we always ask you to call. The jury is out on whether online petitions are effective, with some saying they can be and others saying they are little more than a tool for collecting contact information. We don't want your effort to go to waste. So don't hang up the phone!
First, try calling a different office for the same representative. U.S. Senators Gardner and Bennet have multiple Colorado offices in addition to their D.C. offices. These two Senators represent all Coloradans.
Most U.S. House representatives have at least one local office and a D.C. office. Not sure who your U.S. House representative is? Enter your ZIP code here.
Why is it so important to call? Because staffers deal with each call, including messages left after hours, individually. Calls make an impression. Emails can be summarily tallied or sorted in aggregate. Social media comments are often skimmed or ignored, with good reason - it is too easy to set up multiple fake social media accounts to automatically spam a representative. So if it seems like civic engagement is labor intensive, that's because it is. Just the little bit of effort it takes to dial your phone lets a representative know that you are a real person who really cares, and will care enough to vote in the next election. Representatives care about being re-elected by constituents, not answering Tweets that could be coming from a different state or country.
That said, if you absolutely cannot call or participate in person, take this advice:
The consensus among activists and staffers alike is phone calls are better than email, and that showing up in person to district offices or town halls is better than phone calls. But email and social media make a difference too, as long as those communications are personalized. “I don’t want people who are disabled or otherwise unable to make phone calls to feel like their voice doesn’t matter, because it absolutely does,” says Emily Ellsworth, a former staffer for Utah congressmen Chris Stewart and Jason Chaffetz.
The Denver Post published this guide to contacting your representative in Colorado. Some additional information:
Ken Buck's office numbers are available here.
Scott Tipton's office numbers are available on the same site as his online contact form.
Be polite, be clear about what you want, and let your representative know that you are a voting constituent. If you can, describe how the issue affects you personally. If you are a registered member of the same party as your representative, let them know that as well. Stay engaged, and keep calling!