Inside the Brain of Your Congressperson

We want you to send an email to your congressperson, but we know that you probably won’t. A lot of people think that their legislators won’t read their letters, so there’s no point.

The thing is, sending a message to your congressperson isn’t about getting your letter read. It’s about getting inside their head.

A recent study claims that only about 2% of the constituents of a congressional rep ever communicate with him or her. Since a congressperson may serve 700,000 people or more, that means that your rep may get 140,000 letters, emails, and phone calls. Most will be handled by staffers, maybe with the help of automatic software that decides whether the message is positive or negative and what it’s about.

This means that your rep is probably not going to sit down with a cup of coffee, read your letter, and decide to take action.

But research shows that these messages make a difference in how Congress votes, not by persuading the legislators, but by changing the way they think about their constituents. When congresspeople decide whether or not to attend a meeting, whether or not to listen to a floor speech, or which way to vote, they’re deciding in part because of the mental picture they have of the people who voted for them.

If your congressperson already knows that there are many people of Puerto Rican descent in her district, she’s more likely to stand up for Puerto Rico. If your senator feels like the people who vote for him care about equal rights in Puerto Rico, he’s more likely to attend hearings on Puerto Rico.

The legislators who represent you base their idea of who they’re representing on what they see when they visit their home district, and on what they hear from their voters. When they think, “My constituents care about…” they finish that sentence with the information they’ve gathered. Part of that information is based on the letters, emails, tweets, and calls they receive. And you’re an important part of that.

One study found that just 30 tweets can cause an issue to get onto a congressperson’s radar.

Twitter is an important part of public speech, and public speech is the foundation of democracy. Click To Tweet

Will you help us tweet the news to your congressperson or senator? The American people don’t want to own a colony. The people of Puerto Rico want statehood. It’s time for Puerto Rico to become a state.

Find your congressman or senator’s Twitter handle by clicking on the links in this sentence. Click on the statement below, add your rep’s handle in the box that pops up, and tweet. Change the words around if you feel like it. Add your own take.

It’s a start.

I'm a voter, and I want equal rights for Puerto Rico. Click To Tweet

En Español

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.