Welcome to August Recess — the time of year when elected officials take a break from legislative action in Washington to travel home to their districts to connect with constituents.
It is one of several timely opportunities before the midterm elections (think: APA’s Policy and Advocacy Conference and National Community Planning Month) to advocate for policies that support stronger, more just communities for all.
This recess season, APA is calling on advocates to ask your federal elected officials to support the Senate version of the Farm Bill. Unlike the House bill, the bipartisan Senate measure advances important planning and local food initiatives, expands access to healthy food, and builds on communities’ efforts to improve rural economies.
As Congress prepares to reconcile differences between the House and Senate bills next month, APA encourages planners interested in ensuring the health of their communities to act now. The current Farm Bill expires on September 30.
APA is issuing a challenge. We want planning advocates to call your elected officials in the House and Senate during August and ask them to support the Senate Farm Bill.
Our goal is 100 calls. Let’s get to work!
Follow these steps to successfully call your elected officials in August:
Know Your Ask, Key Messages
The cardinal rule in advocacy is to always have an “ask,” or the action you want your elected office to take. We find it also helps to know your message, too.
Key Ask: Support Senate Farm Bill in conference.
Key Message: The bipartisan Senate Farm Bill is better overall for planning.
Download the Call Script
We’ve scripted out everything you need to say in the message you leave for your elected official. All you need to do is download the script and add some local flavor. Remember, the congressional staffer you talk to doesn’t have much time to chat. Keeping your message clear, concise, and calm with make it easier for the staffer who answers your phone call to relay your phone message to his or her boss.
Make the Call
You’ve done the leg work; now make the call. Call the US Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121, or call your elected officials’ Washington, D.C., offices directly to leave a message. Remember to request to speak with the staff person who handles agriculture issues.
Report Out to APA
We are tracking the number of calls made to elected officials closely. Email Emily Pasi, public affairs manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know that you’ve made your calls and who you talked with.
Join the Planners’ Advocacy Network to access a recording of our recent Farm Bill Issue Briefing, a deep dive into the issues at play in Farm Bill politics and APA’s positions on key provisions identified within the bills.
Top image: Getty Images photo.
About the Author
Emily Pasi is APA's public affairs manager.