At the time I’m writing this, H.R. 1301 has 64 co-sponsors, with a few more expected by the end of the week. That’s excellent, but we need more. A lot more.
Some of you have done e-mail bulletins encouraging members to meet with and write to their members of Congress. Thank you! Please repeat the message periodically. Although we don’t want to spam members and irritate them, keeping the issue fresh in their minds is necessary. The ARRL’s national media do stories about the bill, but the message needs reinforcement from someone whom members know personally. They know you.
Please mention the bill when you speak at conventions and club meetings, too. Do you carry information about the bill when you visit these events?
We have been told quite bluntly by some Congressional offices that they want letters from constituents, that they will be interested in what the ARRL has to say only if they know that voters care about this issue. Why should the Congressman care, they ask, if the voters don’t? There are tens of thousands of ARRL members who have not written yet. You can do a lot to persuade them to write, because they know you.
The ideal way for members to contact their Congressmen is to write personalized, signed paper letters based on the sample letter on the ARRL web site at www.arrl.org/hr-1301 and send them c/o ARRL. The address is
Attn HR 1301 grassroots campaign
225 Main St
Newington CT 06111
Why is this the best way? For one thing, we able to keep track of how many communications are going to which Congressional districts. More importantly, when letters are hand-delivered to the Hill, there’s an opportunity to speak with Congressional office staff people. The stack of letters is proof that voters care about the bill. We have to convince the staff people, so they’ll advise the Representative to co-sponsor. That’s how it works on Capitol Hill.
One more thing. When you see that a member of Congress in your Section has become a co-sponsor, urge your members to call or e-mail a message of appreciation. Good manners, good strategy.
The list of co-sponsors is updated regularly at www.arrl.org/hr-1301 This is the URL that gives members the information they need in order to be effective advocates.
We are working on having a companion bill introduced in the Senate, but there is nothing to report on that yet. Members often ask about this. Until we have a bill in the Senate, we do not need letters to members of that body.
I have a Twitter feed, @KayCraigieN3KN, which I use only for advocacy about this legislation with the hashtag #hr1301. I’m not doing this as an ego trip to develop a personal fan club but rather to get information, encouragement, and reminders out there rapidly. When there is an amateur radio news story that I can reasonably tie to the issue of antenna privileges, I tweet about it and use the phrase “Can’t do it without antennas.”
Please keep your Director well informed about your activities on behalf of the bill. This is a full-team effort.
Thanks for all you do.
73, Kay N3KN