When was the last time your U.S. Representative held a public event in your community?
The reason why Congress takes numerous breaks from their legislative work is so elected officials can get back to their districts and spend time with their constituents. During these recesses, they schedule various public events, including town halls. (Well, they are supposed to. Some are better than others at making themselves available.) Attending these town halls is an important part of being an engaged citizen.
Reasons to Attend Town Halls
1. The best way to influence your elected official is with face-to-face conversations. Town halls are one of the ways to have such a conversation.
2. Town halls are an opportunity to participate in the democratic process. This is a right we have as American citizens.
3. Town halls are a great place to connect policy to the actual effect they can have on us personally. It’s important for both your elected official and the community at large to hear these stories.
4. The elected official works for you, the voter. They must listen and respond to their constituents at town halls. It is one of the ways we can hold them accountable.
5. Town halls are a great way to hear the concerns of your community. You’ll feel closer to your community when you realize how many others feel the same way you do about a particular issue.
To find a town hall for your Members of Congress, visit Town Hall Project. If you don’t see one listed, call their district office directly and ask when their next one is. The AOCC checklist has a handy script you can use for this purpose.
To find a town hall for your state legislators, visit their websites or call their staff. Get their contact information at Open States.
You can always attend a town hall and just listen. But if you want to make sure a particular issue gets raised, going with a group of like-minded people can be a smart way to go. Indivisible has a great guide for how to prepare to make your presence and issues known at a town hall.