Attend Town Hall Meetings

Legislators often host town hall meetings in their districts, especially during congressional breaks. Town Hall meetings are opportunities for your representative to learn what is important to the people he or she represents. These meetings give you the opportunity to bring your issue before policymakers and to show your support for a particular cause.

Look for mailings or press releases announcing future meetings in your district, or find your Representative or Senator and see whether any town halls are mentioned on his/her Web site. You can also phone your legislator to find out when the next town hall meeting will take place and request a schedule for upcoming meetings. Your attendance at a town hall meeting will be most effective if you follow a few simple guidelines:

  • Arrive early to receive handouts.
  • Sign in, so that your presence is recorded.
  • Bring handouts or position papers for distribution.

If there is an opportunity to ask questions, ask one about quality cancer care. Think about your questions in advance and be as specific as you can. Provide a succinct personal example of why this issue is important to you. For example, you might say something like “I have survived cancer for more than 10 years, but I don’t know what to be prepared for down the road, and neither does my family doctor, since s/he doesn’t know what kind of treatment I received. That’s why I believe everyone with cancer should get a treatment summary and survivorship care plan when they complete primary treatment.”

  • There is strength in numbers, so bring friends along. The more people standing up for an issue, the better.
  • Introduce yourself to the staff handling the meeting. A good time to do this is at the end of the meeting when they are less likely to be distracted by meeting details.
  • Write a follow-up letter to your legislator. Let him or her know you attended the meeting. If you didn’t have the opportunity to ask your question, ask it in your letter. If you have comments about a position your legislator took during the meeting, share that in your letter.