Engaging with Candidates
Washington Newsletter No. 785, June 2018
As the November 6 election approaches, political candidates are hosting town halls, talking to voters, and listening more closely to constituents. This is an opportunity to lift up our concerns for peace and justice with candidates for Congress and state offices, and with the public.
Here are suggestions for how to engage with candidates in 2018.
Ask a Question at a Campaign Event
You can check candidate websites or contact campaign offices to find out about public appearances. We recommend deciding in advance what question you want to ask and practicing speaking it out loud. You will likely only have a minute or two to ask your question. Listen carefully to the candidate’s answer and thank them for their response.
Consider going to an event with other people who are ready to ask the same question. This strategy increases the chances that one of you will be called on to speak.
If you attend an event, take a photo and send it to us at email@example.com! We will share it on social media to inspire others.
Organize a Campaign Event
When you work with your meeting, church, or community group to put on your own event, you can focus on the issues most important to your community and help candidates get to know your group. Several years ago, Durham Friends Meeting invited congressional candidates to such a forum and asked them questions based on FCNL’s suggestions. You can do the same!
Organize a Joint Letter to Candidates
Letters can come from a few people or from your meeting or church as a whole, asking candidates’ perspectives on your priority issues. Joint letters can help show candidates that there’s an organized group of people who are paying attention to an issue.
Write a Letter to the Editor
Any of the questions in this newsletter can become the basis for a letter to the editor. Respond to a news article if possible, and keep your letter short (150 words or less). Be sure to include the names of your candidates so campaigns will see the letter. Get more tips at fcnl.org/lte, and please email a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org if your letter is published!
Contact Campaigns Directly
You can send campaigns a postal letter or an email. See FCNL’s website at fcnl.org/2018elections for sample letters to candidates based on the questions in this newsletter.
Engage with Candidates on Social Media
Follow candidates on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms and comment to raise issues you want to see them address. Campaigns monitor these sites closely! Candidates are also likely to share information about public events on these platforms.
As you can see, you can use these questions in many different ways. However you interact with candidates, you will learn about them and they will learn about you and what you expect them to pay attention to if elected.