I don’t know if it makes a difference, but when I call my reps and talk to their staffers, I try to drag it out a little bit and be as polite as possible. After they answer, I ask them by the name they have just provided how they are doing and hope all is going well. Then I usually start with “My name is John Cole, and I am constituent of Rep. McKinley/Sen. Manchin/Sen. Capito and I live in Bethany, West Virginia. I was calling to ask where Rep./Sen. stood on the current Graham/Cassidy bill.”
Capito and McKinley’s reps would not tell me because they “did not know,” while Manchin’s staff t old me he was against it. With the latter, I said “Well that’s great to hear, and I would like to add my name to the list because I think it is a terrible bill and will hurt West Virginia and West Virginians,” and then give them my address and phone number in case they would like to reach me.
With Capito and McKinley, I said that “I would like to urge them to both reject the bill and vote no, because I think it is bad for West Virginia and West Virginians, and it is unfair and will hurt our people, who already have a tough go of it.” I then chatted with the McKinley rep about how weird it was to have him as my rep because I actually went to undergrad with his daughter and worked on her campaign to get her elected to the student board of governor’s (she won), and with the Capito rep talked about how my dad and I had both met her father Arch Moore on several occasions because my dad had been mayor for 25 years here and we went to Charleston a lot when I was a kid for grants.
And then at the end, to all of them, I tell them “I am sure you have had an awful couple of weeks, with a lot of angry people calling, so I hope you have a nice day and I really hope that your boss comes out opposed to the bill.”
I don’t know if it works, but I use my calm adult voice (the one that doesn’t say fuck every other word) and just try to be nice and to make it personal. I also insist that they take my address and phone number, so I can’t just be written off as a random but as an actual person who votes in their district. I know not everyone feels comfortable doing that, but I do, so I do it.
I’m going to try to figure out how to fax them all from my printer, because for some reason I have it in my head that those matter more. Also, I recommend writing down the staffer name and keeping it in a file so when you call back and get someone else, you can namedrop the staffer you spoke to and it will let them know you are concerned about the issue, have called before, and aren’t going away.
I also wore my fuck trump t-shirt while calling, but they don’t need to know that.
How do you all do it?