A political insider’s viral advice on how to make your Congress member listen

Written by Ismat Sarah Mangla
November 14, 2016

Is anybody in there? (Reuters/Joshua Roberts)

Is anybody in there? (Reuters/Joshua Roberts)

In the wake of a blistering and divisive election, many Americans are grasping for ways to make their voices heard, beyond what gets blasted into the “filter bubble.” A former congressional staff member tweeted a series of tips on how to get your local representative to listen to you, and apparently the internet wants to know. The first tweet in her thread has been shared thousands of times:

Emily Ellsworth of Salt Lake City, Utah spent six years working for Utah congressmen Jason Chaffetz and Chris Stewart before becoming a web content editor and marketer, reports CNN. In her experience serving as a liaison between constituents and their representatives, Ellsworth learned which tactics were most effective in getting her team’s attention.

Ellsworth, 30, argues that social media activism—posting on Facebook or taking to Twitter—is the least useful because most Congressional staffers and their bosses are not reading those comments. Writing a letter you actually put in the mail with a postage stamp can be helpful, especially if you send it to your local office. But those can also get lost in the shuffle:

Ellsworth said the best way to get your representative’s attention is to pick up the phone and make a call.

Face time is incredibly important, Ellsworth continued:

Ellsworth emphasized the importance of making connections with staff members and being kind to them because they are the gatekeepers to political action.

“People get this idea that their voice doesn’t matter and if you have don’t have money it doesn’t matter,” Ellsworth told CNN. “But you don’t have to have money to get an appointment or meeting with a congressional staffer and that’s just as important as anything else.”