Leslie Rubenstein reports from Cottage Grove, “Suggestions for upcoming Town Halls: get there really early, not only to get a seat, but also to circulate and have friendly conversations, cheerfully scoping out the crowd but also mentioning courtesy and civility. I think the tenor of the crowd can be affected by projecting a sense of neighborliness instead of antagonism, and dispersing through the crowd so that disrupters can’t be in their own isolated group.”
We are half way through this recess’s Town Halls with 29 under our belt and 14 more scheduled. Implementing what we’ve learned so far is going to help Eastern Oregon get the most out of your upcoming meetings with the Senator. See below for tips for success and ideas from other town halls.
ROP is working to organize a statewide presence of progressive folks at the Congressional Town Halls that have been lightening rods for the Radical Right. We want to coordinate with you to bring a united front of justice, Healthcare for All and Immigrant’s Rights to our Senator’s attention this week. Tap into the strength of one united voice.
This Fall the critical message is a message of unity:
HEALTHCARE AND IMMIGRANT RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS
Tips on how to have a positive Town Hall:
Arrive two hours early
In McMinnville – 500 people came. In Port Orford – 200 people came. In Seaside – 300 people came. Get there 2 hours in advance! Have at least one person stationed outside the venue to hand out flyers, stickers and welcome folks to the meeting.
Tell your personal story and ask pointed questions
See the Talking Points for examples. Progressive voices are getting drowned out of the conversation. Be the first person to ask a question – this will help set the tone of the meeting. It is likely that the Senator will use a raffle system for questions where everyone gets a number and then the numbers get drawn to determine who gets to speak. Get EVERYONE to get numbers, even if they don’t want to speak, and give them to someone who does.
Bring a clear message
Figure out your phrase and use it as many times as you can! ROP is using HEALTHCARE AND IMMIGRANTS RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS. It’s simple & addresses two main issues of the day that are critically linked. The Right is linking these two issues – stand strong that healthcare reform means everyone IN & no one OUT.
Be visible/ Be creative
The Senator won’t know where you stand if you don’t have a sign that tells him! Make a sign, wear a large bright sticker and make yourself visible. Do not be obnoxious or disruptive but do be creative.
In Newberg progressive took up the first two rows of seats and greeted Rep. Wu as he walked in the room with a standing ovation & a clear healthcare message.
In Cave Junction they bought a large cake – handed out pieces to participants and gave Rep. DeFazio a piece as he was leaving the event. Write your message on the cake and get the newspaper to take a picture!
Engage people beyond the Town Hall
Have flyers about your group and ROP to hand out to progressives you see in the crowd – build the movement one person at a time! Take a sign in sheet to get their contact info.
Check out the Town Halls Are Happening! post for flyers, talking points and more!