Advocacy Corner

Carter L. Alleman, J.D.

Meet your Congressional Member at Home

To be an effective surgeon advocate, nothing is more important than personal relationships with Members of Congress. Conversely, to a Member of Congress, there is nothing more valuable than the input and support from their constituents (voters!). Meeting with policy makers and/or their staff will be extremely valuable in advancing the overall surgical advocacy agenda and provide you the opportunity develop key contacts with your legislators.

A recent Congressional office survey found that most of Congressional offices want to hold in-district meetings with constituents and Members. Congressional staffers said that these meetings have more impact on the Member because it shows the Member in the district meeting with constituents and learning more about what is happening in the district. One of the best ways to get a meeting is to have all the details of how the meeting will occur ready when you make contact. The following meeting setup will assist you in planning.

All U.S. Representatives and Senators have one or more offices in their home district or state for constituent service, which serve as a readily accessible meeting point when they are home.

Typical dates of Congressional in-district work periods are:
• President’s Day (mid-February)
• Easter/Passover (March or April)
• Memorial Day (late May)
• Independence Day (week of July 4th)
• Summer (August to Labor Day)
• Target Adjournment (early October)

If Congress has not officially adjourned in early October (as it often doesn’t), additional work periods will include:
• Columbus Day (October)
• Veteran’s Day (November)
• Thanksgiving (November)

Congress will usually be adjourned for the month of December and reconvene after the New Year.


Meeting Set-up

  1. Search for the websites of your Representative (www.house.gov) and Senators (www.senate.gov), which contain the in-district office contact information, as well as preferred scheduling procedures (each office is different). Senators have multiple offices across their states. To schedule an appointment, contact the office that is most convenient to you.
  2. Be sure to provide your name, contact information (including congressional district), and mention which issue(s) you would like to discuss. Please let them know you are a surgeon, and if you have met with them before.
  3. Keep in mind that your legislators maintain extremely busy schedules when they are in district. Your appointment time may be brief and is often subject to change.
  4. Once you have a meeting scheduled (or you need extra assistance), please contact the ACOS.