, a writer and editor from Salt Lake City, worked for both Utah Reps. Jason Chaffetz and Chris Stewart, acting as a liaison for people and the federal agencies they needed help with.
Part of her job, she says, was to file phone calls, letters and visits from constituents. Now, after seeing protests in the wake of the election, her Twitter essay on the best ways to contact Congress has been tweeted more than 9,000 times as of late Saturday afternoon.
“Like a lot of people, I’ve been reeling from the election,” Ellsworth, a registered Republican who campaigned for Hillary Clinton, told CNN Saturday
“So I thought people might like to know how you mobilize and activate individual communities to reach each member of Congress. I just thought I have this knowledge and I did this for six years and it’s probably important for people to know what those specific actions are,” she explained.
“Invite staffers on ‘field trips’ and show them what it’s like in your communities. Show them the work you are doing,” one of Ellsworth’s tweets reads.
“Writing a letter to the district office (state) is better than sending an email or writing a letter to DC,” advises another.
Ellsworth, 30, said she hoped that her advice empowered people to realize they can take political action.
“People get this idea that their voice doesn’t matter and if you have don’t have money it doesn’t matter,” she said. “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,” she said. Advice from an ex-Capitol Hill staffer on how to get a Congress member’s attention has gone viral in the aftermath of the close and divisive 2016 election
As I said before we have to take ACTIONS and VOTE:
Emily Ellsworth Says:
First, tweeting or writing on Facebook is largely ineffective. I never looked at those comments except to remove the harassing ones
Writing a letter to the district office (state) is better than sending an email or writing a letter to DC. But, the most effective thing is to actually call them on the phone. At their district (state) office. They have to talk to you there.
We repped half a million people, it was impossible to read and respond personally to all letters. Impossible. This was something in particular that I cared about as a staffer and worked very hard on, but the sheer volume of emails is overwhelming, so we batched them with computer algorithms and sent out form letters based on topic and position. Regardless of method received.
But, phone calls! That was a thing that shook up our office from time. One time, a radio host gave out our district office phone numbers on air. He was against our immigration policy and told our constituents to call. And they did. All. Day. Long. All I did all day was answer phones. It was exhausting and you can bet my bosses heard about it. We had discussions because of that call to action. If we started getting a pattern of calls, I called up our DC office and asked if they were getting the same calls and we talked. Also, recognize that your letters and your emails get seen by staffers, just like your phone calls get answered. That’s the way of it.
Get Personally ENGAGED!!!
If you want to talk to your rep, show up at town hall meetings. Get a huge group that they can’t ignore. Pack that place and ask questions. We held town halls consistently that fewer than 50 people showed up for. And it was always the same people. So, shake it up. As always, please be kind but firm with those staffers. They will listen and talk to you. I always, always did.
If you run an advocacy group, invite local staffers to show up to your events. Let them talk to people you work with and set up meetings. I loved getting out of my office and meeting with advocates in immigration, healthcare, education, science, and every type of work. Invite staffers on “field trips” and show them what it’s like in your communities. Show them the work you are doing. It works. The staff are the ones who run the ground game for Congress. Work on helping them understand and learn. Because, if the staff knows you, when they have a question about a piece of legislation or amendment, they will be the one you call.