1. Advocacy Resource

Asking Questions at Town Halls

By Julia Neumann, February 16, 2017


Town halls are a great opportunity to hear directly from your member of Congress. Here are some tips to help you make the most of it.

Person with a microphone

A Spring Lobby Weekend participant asks a question. Jennifer Domenick

Introduce yourself

Include your name, your city, and your state. You may also want to say how long you've lived in the area or your profession.

Thank your member for being there.

It’s especially important when the town hall might be tense—it makes them much more receptive to your question.

Tell a brief story

Make sure the congressperson understands that this is personal to their district.

Make a clear, direct ask

You want to make it as hard as possible for them to avoid the question, and get them on the record agreeing to take a concrete action.

So for example on healthcare, a good question would be:

“I'm concerned about plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement that ensures continued, quality coverage for all your constituents. Will you refuse to repeal the ACA unless an adequate replacement is already in place?”

An immigration question could be:

“At any moment the President could sign an executive order revoking the protection for undocumented young adults who grew up in the U.S. Can I count on you to protect them by co-sponsoring the bi-partisan BRIDGE Act?”

You can find sample questions in the blue boxes of our legislative asks.

Follow up!

Get staff contact while you’re there, and reach out to make sure the member knows you will be watching to make sure they follow through.

Tips

  • Get there early.
  • Practice your introduction, story, and question. In many cases, you'll have two minutes or less to speak.

Find a town hall near you.

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Julia Neumann

  • Strategy Coordinator

Julia Neumann coordinates outreach to states that are particularly important to FCNL’s lobbying efforts, helps constituents develop their own relationships with their members of Congress, and helps the Strategic Advocacy and Legislative teams track and manage their data. Julia is FCNL's resident expert on scheduling lobby visits- last year, she helped FCNL's network schedule over 500, including those during the Quaker Public Policy Institute and Spring Lobby Weekend.