Meeting with Your Legislators: A Checklist

Before meeting with Members of Congress or their staff, it is helpful to know a few basic facts about the legislator and the district to give you some idea about how to approach your conversation. Of particular interest are the Member’s background, party, ideology, voting record, tenure in Congress, and whether the Member belongs to a Committee that plays a role in biomedical research funding or other relevant issues.

You can locate biographical information on Members of Congress from one or more of the websites listed at the bottom of this page. As you research, keep in mind how the factors listed below may shape the Member’s view on research issues.

About the Legislator

  • Biography
    • Name
    • Party Affiliation (Democrat/Republican/Independent)
    • Ideology (liberal/conservative/moderate)
    • Educational background
    • Year elected
  • District Information
    • Research institutions in the district
    • Type of district (urban/suburban/rural/mix)
    • Major industries and other large employers
  • Positions in Congress
    • Committee Assignments
    • Leadership Positions (committees chaired, etc.)
  • Research Connections
    • Public positions on biomedical research issues, funding, and animal research
    • Personal connection to biomedical research

Talking Points

  • As a researcher, I appreciate the support Congress has provided for biomedical research through the NIH, NSF, VA, NASA, and other agencies.
  • Ample scientific opportunities remain to justify sustained funding growth in all biological sciences across all agencies.
  • Medical progress continues to depend upon the use of animal models of humane diseases. Researchers recognize that humane care of animals is essential to sound scientific research.
  • Thanks for your time, and I invite you to contact me in the future on medical research issues.

Web Links for Congressional Research


Meeting in Person

Meeting Senators and Representatives either in Washington or back home in the district lets you state your views and start establishing a personal relationship.

Placing a Phone Call

If you don’t have the time to set up a meeting, you can simply call the Member’s office to state your views.

Written Communication

Sending an email is an easy and convenient way to contact Members of Congress. (Do not send letters because all Congressional mail is screened off-site and may be delayed significantly.)

Is This Considered Lobbying?

As a citizen, you have the right to make your views known to your elected representatives: Just be sure to do so on your own time!

Tips for Talking about Issues

Six points to keep in mind in any advocacy situation.