Tuesday, January 16, 2007

What Approach is Most Effective?

I went back to the The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s advocacy section and reviewed the following:

In order of MOST to LEAST effective, these are the means of contacting legislators:

1. personal visit to the legislator's Washington DC office or home-state office

2. personally handwritten but LEGIBLE short letter

3. personally typewritten or word-processed letter

4. phone call to a key staffer in the office

5. phone call to the reception staffers in the office

6. personally written fax

7. an obvious form letter or fax

8. personally written e-mail

9. an obvious form e-mail

In order of MOST to LEAST effective, these are the kinds of people who contact legislators

1. government officials

2. constituent organizations or corporations (entities in the legislator' home district/state)

3. individual constituents (voters in the legislator's home district/state)

4. major international, national or regional organizations or corporations

5. little-known international, national or regional orgs. & corps.

6. non-constituent individual Americans

7. foreign individuals, or foreign orgs. & corps.

This may of course vary with the circumstances of the issue at hand, but it's a good rough guide.

We need to balance our advocacy efforts with our desire to make something happen and also take into account the odds of being able to make it happen. I happen to live in our State’s capitol so it wouldn’t be out of the question for me take an early or late lunch and walk up to the steps to talk to a state legislator if it was warranted (although currently I have no idea how to make that happen).

A personally handwritten letter might be effective, but I understood from something I read earlier that mail takes one to two months to arrive in a legislator’s office because of terrorism prevention procedures that are in place. So I would expect that a personally written fax is probably the way to go.

The House provides an Internet based method of communicating that is probably just as effective as a personally written fax.

I noticed that being contacted by constituent organizations or corporations are considered more effective than individual constituents and even more effective than national organizations. So what would a constituent organization for Huntington’s disease look like? How would I go about building one? What would it cost in the way of time and money to build one? With such a small percent of the population being directly impacted we would need to have a “Family and Friends of ...” type advocacy organization. This seems to me to be something that might be worth taking a closer look at, at a later time.

Anyway, I sent my “vote for stem cell research expansion” to my Congressman. It looks like I should fax it to my Senators.

I rechecked the status of the resolution and found:

Latest Major Action: 1/12/2007 Read the second time. Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 6.

Very good, when is THAT scheduled to take place? I reviewed “related bills” and found S.5 which is the Senate version of this which was read on 1/8 and “placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders Calendar No. 3. Although there were several links labeled “Calendar” it seems that those pages are only what has taken place, not what is to be. Could it be that our Senate doesn’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow? It seems so. I’ll just need to find a fax machine and send my letter as soon as possible.

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