Scoundrel Time

Town Hall Time

This week marks the real beginning of the August Recess for Congress, which means your representatives are home and likely hosting town halls. Take advantage of this opportunity for some face time—now is your chance to be more than just an email or phone call recorded by a staff member (though we know that’s effective, too!). Stories about how potential legislation would impact you and your loved ones make a difference; when your members of Congress return to D.C. next month, they will have your experiences on their minds and ready to draw from when it’s time to persuade their colleagues.


1) Choose an issue (or two or three!) to educate yourself about so you are prepared to speak confidently and intelligently. Here are a few suggestions:


    • A new report on climate change—prepared by 13 federal agencies—contradicts Trump’s assertions that humans don’t have a clear impact on climate change, noting that “Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse (heat-trapping) gases, are primarily responsible for recent observed climate change.” The report also emphasizes the importance of reducing carbon dioxide levels in order to prevent the global mean temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius—the point at which scientists have said the changes to the planet will become catastrophic. 
    • Though many of this administration’s attacks on the environment are happening within federal agencies, there are still important pieces of legislation to ask your members of Congress to vote for or against. Indivisible’s Environment Toolkit gives a great overview of what you need to know as well as some sample town hall questions


    • For now, the Affordable Care Act is safe, but it’s important for our members of Congress to understand that we are watching and won’t stand for the destruction of Medicaid or the reduction of coverage quality.
    • Indivisible’s Health Care Toolkit offers helpful town hall scripts for asking your members of Congress to commit to protecting the health of our citizens and to using regular order in future bipartisan efforts to reform health care.

    • Yesterday, from his golf club in New Jersey, Trump blustered that any further threats from North Korea to the United States would be “met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.” This morning he followed up with a Tweet proclaiming the United States’ nuclear arsenal “far stronger and more powerful than ever before.” These brash and provocative statements are horrifying in and of themselves; we must make certain that Trump cannot make his threats reality and throw us into nuclear war. 
    • In the words of the Loyal Opposition, “it is imperative that Congress assert its Constitutional duty to approve the use of military force before it occurs, and in particular insist on Congressional approval for any first strike with nuclear weapons.”
    • TOWN HALL SCRIPT (adapted from the Loyal Opposition): “Congress must do its Constitutional duty and require its authorization for any military action by the president against North Korea. Will you [or, if talking with a staff member, Rep/Sen____] support immediate passage of [H.R. 669/S. 200] requiring Congressional approval for any first use of nuclear weapons by the United States?”

2) Find out when and where your members of Congress are hosting town halls. (And if they don’t have town halls scheduled, call their offices and ask why. Or, better yet, hold your own!)

3) Watch this video to help you prepare your town hall question. The main take-aways:

  • Get personal—your representative cannot contradict a personal story.
  • Use the facts you gathered in preparation.
  • Ask questions that require a Yes or No answer so that your representative has to commit.