Want Congress to hear your opinions? Tips from an expert
(CNN) — Advice from an ex-Capitol Hill staffer on how to get a Congress member’s attention has gone viral in the aftermath of the close and divisive 2016 election.
Emily Ellsworth, a writer and editor from Salt Lake City, worked for both Utah Reps. Jason Chaffetz and Chris Stewart, acting as a liaison for people and the federal agencies they needed help with.
Part of her job, she says, was to file phone calls, letters and visits from constituents. Now, after seeing protests in the wake of the election, her Twitter essay on the best ways to contact Congress has been tweeted more than 9,000 times as of late Saturday afternoon.
“Like a lot of people, I’ve been reeling from the election,” Ellsworth, a registered Republican who campaigned for Hillary Clinton, told CNN Saturday.
“So I thought people might like to know how you mobilize and activate individual communities to reach each member of Congress. I just thought I have this knowledge and I did this for six years and it’s probably important for people to know what those specific actions are,” she explained.
“Invite staffers on ‘field trips’ and show them what it’s like in your communities. Show them the work you are doing,” one of Ellsworth’s tweets reads.
“Writing a letter to the district office (state) is better than sending an email or writing a letter to DC,” advises another.
Ellsworth, 30, said she hoped that her advice empowered people to realize they can take political action.
“People get this idea that their voice doesn’t matter and if you don’t have money it doesn’t matter,” she said.
“But you don’t have to have money to get an appointment or meeting with a congressional staffer and that’s just as important as anything else,” she said.
As for her advice to those still reeling from the election results, first, Ellsworth insisted, “Take the time you need to be sad and to be angry and feel all those emotions and figure out what specific actions you can make.”
Then, she urged, it’s time to start thinking about the midterms in two years.
“Now is the time to start identifying candidates that you want to run and flip the Senate or House in 2018,” Ellsworth said.
“Make your action targeted. Make your Facebook groups, make your circles of friends and start mobilizing. Channel that anger, frustration, and depression into something meaningful that people aren’t going to be able to ignore,” she added.