Tips for Attending a Congressional Town-hall Meeting or Local Event
Congressional town-hall meetings give constituents a chance to make their voices heard. Such events generally take place in districts during congressional recesses and provide an opportunity for lawmakers to hear from the public on a wide range of concerns.
Find a Town-hall Meeting or Event in Your Area
- Go to https://townhallproject.com or your legislator’s website, Facebook page or Twitter feed to find the date, location and time of events
- Check your local newspaper for announcements about upcoming town hall meetings, congressional office hours, telephone town-hall calls, etc. Events are often announced on short notice or sometimes scheduled at the last minute
Prepare for the Event
- Register (as required) for the town hall meeting or event
- Visit your legislator’s website and social media sites to read their latest press releases, speeches or newsletters to learn about the issues they are following
- Write down one or two brief questions to ask during the event. Focus on a specific subject—such as funding for the National Institutes of Health—and ask in a way that will generate more than a “yes” or “no” response
- Do not include long introductory statements—just state your name and the town where you live or work
- Practice asking your question(s) until you can recite them in 25 seconds or less
Day of the meeting
- Arrive early and sign-in. Ask if you need to sign-up to ask a question
- Silence the volume on your cell phone
- Introduce yourself to the your legislator and his or her staff and offer your business card or other contact information
- Sit in the front of the room so you can be seen more easily when it is time for questions answers (or reach the microphones located in the aisles)
- What is your position on federal funding for medical research?
- Where does funding for medical research fit on your overall list of priorities?
- How do you feel about increasing federal funding for medical research?
- What are you planning to do to show your support for federal funding for research?
- In your opinion, how does federal funding for research benefit [state or district]?
- Do you have any concerns about the proposed fiscal year 2018 budget?
- What specifically concerns you about the budget proposal that was released by the White House last month (in March 2017)?