Hold your legislators accountable

Tell members of Congress what you think of their votes
Congress is notoriously unpopular; a 2013 poll found that Congress ranks lower than cockroaches and NFL replacement refs. With recent disappointments like the House failure to pass a 2013 Farm Bill, or last year’s Sportsmen’s Act calamity, it’s easy to feel frustrated.

Ducks Unlimited will occasionally send our supporters “action alerts” asking you to contact your members of Congress concerning our policy initiatives. While telling your legislators how you would like them to vote on issues is extremely important, it’s also vital to follow up with them after voting is done.  

Constituents’ opinions, before and after congressional votes, carry a lot of weight with legislators. You can hold them accountable in a variety of ways:

Schedule a meeting. Lawmakers make trips back to their home state or district many times throughout the year, often monthly. Call their local offices to schedule a meeting with the legislators or their staff members. During the meeting, reiterate your position on the issue and ask them to explain why they voted the way they did.

Use social media. Members of Congress pay just as much attention to a Facebook post on their wall or a tweet as they do an email or call to their office. Save time and use social media to thank them when you support their votes, or reflect when you’re disappointed.

Send a letter to the editor. Congressional offices also monitor hometown newspapers. Write a letter to the editor and send it to your local newspaper to share your reaction to results in Congress.

Write a blog post. You don’t have to wait for someone else to publish your opinion. It’s more and more common for people to have their own blogs, so post your response to votes there. You can also send a post to a local outdoor blog and ask to be a guest writer.

Contact your DU public policy staff. If you still aren’t sure how to share your thoughts, ask your DU chapter president or state chairman for information on how to contact your DU regional policy director. They can help you with the message and how best to deliver it to your members of Congress. Or visit the DU public policy web page for conservation policy messages and easy links to contact your members of Congress.