How to Communicate with Congress
The DSM USA Policy HQ podcast is a monthly conversation between experts on public policy topics impacting business and the relationship between government and the private sector.
In this installment of the DSM USA Policy HQ podcast Kaity Patchett, District Director for Rep. Cindy Axne, and Josie Beecher, District Scheduler for Sen. Joni Ernst, discuss ways in which business owners and startup founders can work with congressional members to further their business goals. For those looking to contact congressional offices, it’s best to do so in the 48 hours prior to a deadline when other options have been exhausted. Beecher cites passports as one example. If you’re not hearing back from the federal government about your application, you should reach out to someone who can get you more information and help speed up the process. Congressional offices offer a wide range of services, and the public is sometimes unaware of how many issues congressional members can assist with, including for casework items like passports, work visas, veteran’s benefits, small business loans and more.
If something affects someone on an individual level, the district office is where to start. The district office in Iowa is there for accessibility and can assist with reaching congressional offices in D.C. Whereas if you’re looking to change legislation that will make an impact on many, the D.C. office is where you would want to go.
Communicating with Congressmembers
Getting in touch with congressional offices isn’t difficult. Make the scheduler your best friend. They know what’s going on and talk with every single person in the district and D.C. offices and can connect you quickly. Individual emails are great, but don’t hesitate to use general inboxes (contact forms) and phone numbers, too. There are staff members always overseeing those so your question or concern will not go unanswered.
Tips for Constituents
When reaching out to congressional offices, there are a few things you can do for a smooth experience. Patchett and Beecher share a few tips to remember:
Case work and constituent service can impact Iowans day-to-day and resolve issues. Reach out to case workers for assistance when you need it.
- Understand that some issues will take longer to resolve. Reach out to case workers right away when you become aware of a problem.
- If you haven’t received a response, reach out again.
- For businesses, build a relationship with district staffers/representatives and do it before you need it.
Find information on contacting congressional district offices in the state:
Listen to the entire podcast above.
The DSM USA Policy HQ podcast focuses on public policy topics impacting business and the relationship between government and the private sector. Join us each month to hear from local Greater Des Moines (DSM) experts. To listen to more Partnership podcasts, click here.