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Participate in a Town Hall Meeting or Other Campaign Event

TIP: During this campaign season, many lawmakers are holding events in their local districts, including town hall meetings. These events offer an excellent opportunity to interact directly with Members of Congress and urge them to support language learning, including continuing support for programs like STARTALK and the Language Flagship, while also urging them to reinstate funds for the Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP).

You can find out if your Congressperson is hosting a town hall meeting on their individual website or Twitter feed. Go to www.house.gov or www.senate.gov and enter your zip code to be directed to the appropriate website. If no information is listed, call their local office in your area. The phone number should be listed on the website.

You can also check your local newspaper for announcements about upcoming town hall meetings, “office hours,” or special events for constituents. Town hall meetings are often not announced very far in advance and additional events are sometimes added to the schedule at the last minute. Make note of any instructions about registering for the meeting or sending an RSVP. Be prepared to provide your name, address, and phone number that will be used to verify that you are a constituent.

To prepare for the meeting, again visit the website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed and read their latest press releases, speeches, newsletters, and/or tweets to find out how they’ve voted recently and which issues they are currently following.

Write down one or two brief questions that you would like to ask. Make sure they are focused on a specific subject (like the impact of cuts on language education). Do not include long introductory statements in your questions; just state your name and the town where you live. You may want to practice asking your question until you can get through it in 25 seconds or less.

On the day of the meeting, introduce yourself to the congressperson’s staff if you have the opportunity and offer your contact information. Ask if you need to sign-up in advance to ask a question. If possible, sit in the front of the audience, or if microphones are set up in the aisle, sit as close to the aisle as possible.