As agriculture issues and policies come before our state and nation, ArborOne encourages you to contact your Congressman.
Let them know how you, your farm, and/or your business will be impacted by the decisions that they make. Encourage them to support policies that strengthen the agricultural sector and oppose efforts that diminish it.
Contacting your Congressman
In Columbia, SC:
The contact information for all Statehouse members is available at South Carolina Legislature website.
Congressional leaders are generally interested in hearing from their own constituents, not someone else's, so focus on your own elected officials. Some pointers to help you contact them:
- Traditional letters—effective but not timely. All mail sent to the Capitol is redirected to a separate location and inspected (for safety reasons) before delivery. A faxed letter is just as effective, but gets there faster.
- Phone calls—effective, but don't expect to talk to the member of Congress, unless you have a personal relationship with him or her. Instead, ask to speak with the person who handles agricultural issues. This person will value your local perspective on agriculture, and may even contact you for input in the future.
- E-mail—quick and most effective when it's part of a coordinated e-mail campaign on a specific subject. The downside: You could get a form response that does not fully address your concern.
- Personal contact—often the most effective approach. Consider meeting your member of Congress when he or she is back home in the district. Contact his or her district office instead of the Washington office to find out when he or she will be in the area and if there are any upcoming public appearances you can attend.
- Personal trips to Washington—effective, but expensive. Face-to-face meetings work best when you already have a personal relationship or are trying to establish one with your congressman. Also, you may end up meeting with staff. Either way, make an appointment first.
- Financial contributions, volunteering on the congressman's election campaign and hosting fundraisers (if you believe the person is doing a good job)—will help keep your representative in office and help get you on his or her radar screen.
- Participation in a trade association or general farm organization—effective because your voice is amplified through the coordinated efforts of the group. These groups retain professionals to monitor political issues and represent the group's interests.
- Building coalitions with like-minded organizations—effective because the more people (or organizations) behind something, the more likely that position will gain attention and support in Washington.