Members of Congress return to their districts periodically. Schedule a meeting with your Member of Congress to share your story and express your opinions on policies that affect you as a person with kidney disease.
You don't need to be afraid of holding a district meeting. Members of Congress are people just like anyone else. Holding these meetings has a huge pay-off. First and foremost, when you tell your story, your Member of Congress can put a face on the issue. Second, you will have a change to build up your relationship with your Members of Congress. The more you opportunities you take to speak them, the more likely they will be to support you in laws and regulations.
Of course, we are here to support you every step of the way! If you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to contact us.
Setting Up Your Meeting
- Find a friend! It will make your meeting more effective if you bring a diverse group of stakeholders. Amplify the patient voice by assembling a group of fellow patients, family members, nurses, dieticians and whoever else you would like to join. Don’t overwhelm your legislator or their staff with too many people. Try not to go with more than five other people.
- Schedule the meeting. Pick a few dates that work for you and the rest of your group and call your legislators’ district offices. Ask to speak with the district scheduler. Be sure to submit your meeting request with at least two weeks advance notice. You should ask to meet with your legislator in-person during the August district work period. However, your legislators may be busy and you may end up speaking with a member of their staff. Click here to find your legislators contact information.
- Follow up on your request. You may not be able to get an appointment right away, so you may need to make several follow-up calls to set a meeting date and time.
- Keep us in the loop. Let us know when you have a meeting scheduled and we will send you a “leave behind” packet. This is a folder of information that you will give to the district staffer or legislators with whom you meet. Click here to contact us and let us know you are trying to hold a meeting and we will send you everything you need.
During the Meeting
- Say thank you. Thank the member and/or their staff for meeting with you.
- Introduce yourselves. Have each person give a brief (1-2 minute) introduction and share your stories.
- Make the ask. Once your meeting is scheduled, call us and we will let you know what to ask of your Members of Congress. We will also provide you with the facts and data to support your claims.
- Stay on message! Your legislator or their staff may try and make small talk and change the subject. Try to stick to our message about preserving dialysis funding.
- You don’t have all the answers. If you can’t answer a question from your legislator or their staff, just let them know that you will get back to them. After your meeting, let us know what these difficult questions were and we will help you follow up with the answers.
After the Meeting
- Send a thank you note. Not only does sending a thank you note help establish a working relationship with your legislators, it also gives you the opportunity to reinforce your opposition to the 9.4% cut.
- Gather and send follow up information. If you told staff you would get the answer to a question and get back to them, be sure to remember to provide staff with that information after the meeting.
- Share with us. Let us know how the meeting went. What worked and what didn’t? What additional support can we provide for you?