Volume 87 Issue 28 | p. 34 | ACS Comments
Issue Date: July 13, 2009

ACS Wants You To Go To Capitol Hill

By Bonnie A. Charpentier, Chair, Board Committee on Public Affairs & Public Relations; and Kristin M. Omberg, Chair, Committee on Chemistry & Public Affairs
Department: ACS News
Keywords: ACS national meeting, ACS Board Committee on Public Affairs & Public Relations, Congress
Charpentier
Credit: Kathleen Dylan
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Charpentier
Credit: Kathleen Dylan
Omberg
Credit: LANL
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Omberg
Credit: LANL

Next month's ACS national meeting in Washington, D.C., will give members an opportunity to visit the nation's capital during a time of exciting change. The new Administration and the 111th Congress are rethinking the role of science in political decisions and have made significant investments in scientific research and education.

As part of the national meeting, the ACS Board Committee on Public Affairs & Public Relations and the Committee on Chemistry & Public Affairs encourage you to visit the offices of your members of Congress to thank them for their recent investments in scientific research and education. Visiting your members or their staff is a great way to establish relationships with the people who represent you in Washington, to ensure that your concerns—and your appreciation for their recent support—are heard, and to remind them to keep science and technology at the top of their agenda through the budget season and into the future.

If your research is funded by a federal agency, consider a visit to your congressional representatives to express your gratitude. Tell them how those federal monies are paying for research that will have an impact on your laboratory and your region, as well as broader societal benefits.

If you've never visited the offices of your congressional representatives, ACS will provide you with the tools and training you need to get started. If you are a veteran of such visits, these tools can help you be more effective. Visit the ACS website www.acs.org/dcvisits to sign up for scheduled meetings with your legislative offices. If there isn't a scheduled meeting or if the meeting doesn't fit your schedule, the website contains a step-by-step guide to setting up your own.

Alternatively, you can contact your local section Government Affairs Committee chair, who may already have a schedule of visits you can join. Even if you cannot participate in the August visits, we urge you to access the website and make use of the tools for congressional visits at another time or in your home state.

On Sunday, Aug. 16, between 9 AM and noon, the Committee on Chemistry & Public Affairs will be conducting orientation sessions in Room 102A of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The orientation sessions will discuss how to navigate Capitol Hill, how to craft a message and what to expect during your meeting, and how to follow up so you can build an ongoing relationship with your elected officials. In addition, you can stop by the ACS Office of Public Affairs booth #1521 to talk to fellow ACS members who can answer questions and share tips on making your meeting a success.

August is a casual month on Capitol Hill. Congress will be in recess, so most representatives and senators will be in their home states or districts. It's likely your meetings will be exclusively with congressional staff; that's okay, because the staff are very influential and will ensure your message is conveyed back to your senators or representative. In many instances, staff have stronger science backgrounds and may have more time for discussion. Don't be surprised if the staff are young and dressed casually compared with typical Capitol Hill attire.

As long as you're scheduling visits with your congressional offices, consider taking advantage of some of the free attractions in the Washington area. Congressional offices can arrange tickets for tours of the Capitol, Library of Congress, Supreme Court, State Department, Kennedy Center, Bureau of Engraving & Printing, Treasury, Pentagon, and even the White House. All tickets are free, but the tours fill up fast, especially in the summer, so contact your representatives' offices now and get your requests in.

One of ACS's strategic goals is to be a premier advocacy organization, positively influencing legislation and public policy, to benefit the profession and society. To accomplish this, ACS needs you to actively participate in advocacy efforts. Let's make our voices heard on Capitol Hill this August! Please visit your congressional offices, thank them for their continued support, and remind them that their investments in science and technology provide a brighter future for all of us.

 

Views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of ACS.

 
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