In just a few days, our Representatives and Senators will be on their way home from D.C. for a legislative recess lasting from April 4th to April 19th, and we don’t want to let it go to waste! Congresspeople are home during these two weeks specifically to hear from us and get feedback before making decisions in DC that will affect us all. There are a number of very important issues that are being decided right now in Congress, and this recess offers us a unique opportunity to visit with our elected representatives on our own turf, and in our own communities.
If you were able to make it to the ROP Democracy Bailout Day at the Caucus a couple of weeks ago, you’re already an expert in meeting with your elected representatives to give them a piece of your mind, and find out first hand where they stand on the issues that are important to you. If this will be your first time visiting with a member of Congress, get in touch with us here at ROP and we’ll connect you with a seasoned neighbor that can walk you through.
Here are a couple of examples of timely issues to address with your congressperson:
Immigration Enforcement and Reform – The Federal government has shifted its responsibility for enforcement of civil immigration laws away to state and local law enforcement, leading to racial and ethnic profiling and the undermining of community policing.
· Do you support just and humane comprehensive immigration reform on the federal level that includes family reunification and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants?
· Will you support efforts to re-assert federal authority over national immigration laws and policies and reject the authority of states and localities to adopt these federal responsibilities?
Civil Liberties – Since 911, the policies of the Department of Homeland Security have taken resources away from real priorities in our community and eroded civil liberties for all people, but immigrant communities have been particularly targeted.
· What will you do to restore due process for all people in America, end immigration raids, and ensure humane detention conditions?
End to Corporate Wars – Instead of military escalation in Afghanistan, US troops should be brought home and the US should commit to negotiated diplomatic solutions that do not endanger the rights and future of the Afghan people. Instead of war and occupation, the U.S. should be working for greater cooperation and collective security for all of the people of the region.
· What will you do to end the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan immediately?
Economic Crisis: Our Taxes, Our Communities – As real wages for working people fall and debt balloons to levels not seen since just before the Great Depression, profits in the finance industry has grown exponentially. Now, as our economy begins a freefall, this same unaccountable industry is being propped up by our tax dollars while we reap little benefit. This must change!
· Do you support taxing financial industry bailout and recovery funds, and no more taxpayer money used for bailouts of the financial services industry?
· What have you done to ensure that the Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds will benefit families, communities, and working people in Oregon?
· To get this economy back on track, working families need to have access to a living wage, and the best way to do that is to give them more power in the workplace. Do you support workers rights and the Employee Free Choice Act?
To find out where your Senators and Representative will be during this recess, this website can help you find their contact information. When you call, be sure that you’re calling the local office near you in Oregon! Ask for a meeting. Ask where your Congressperson stands on the issues above or others that matter to you. Ask where your Congressman will be during the recess, and what Town Halls or other events are planned for your area – then get that information out to the community. Plan a Human Dignity field trip!
And of course, don’t forget to drop us a line to let us know when you have an appointment set up, what information you’ve gathered over the phone, or if there is an event you’re planning to attend. And as always, we’ve got your back if you have questions about a specific issue or if you just want somebody to help plan your approach.
Real democracy is participatory democracy!
If you’re wanting more…many organizations across the country have prepared resources to help you prep for your in-district visits. For immigration advice, check out the National Council of La Raza. United for Peace and Justice has also put together some great resources specifically for Congressional Visits.