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    Contacting legislators

    I'm a member of a public-employees union and a state-wide professional organization in CA. We've had many occasions over the past 20 years to contact our representatives on legislation that concerns us. I thought I'd pass along some of the tactics they recommend as far as how to get the attention of legislators.

    The way they tell us to contact them now is by faxing letters. As has been stated on the forums before, mailing letters can take a long time these days, but a fax is instantaneous. It puts something tangible into the hands of the rep's office -- they have to retrieve it from the fax machine, read it, and do something with it -- hopefully add it to the growing "please support HR 3852" pile. (And there's no pesky zipcode issue.)

    Numbers count, so rather than send one letter from a family, send one from each adult member of the family.....and don't forget your friends and relatives. Twenty pieces of paper get more attention than one with 20 names on it.

    Phone calls are also good -- again, someone in that office has to answer the phone, find out what you're calling about, and (hopefully) note it down. Numbers count here, too. (The union really favors the phone blitz......members and their friends and family all calling on an upcoming bill a few days before it goes to a vote can make a huge impression........not quite the situation here at the moment, though.)

    We've asked if we should send emails, too, and have basically been told don't bother. Emails are simply too easy to ignore and/or forget about. They're hidden away in the computer.......may not be read at all, and if so, perhaps not in a timely fashion.........and are easy to delete. It's the tangible, in-your-face stuff -- the ringing phone and the spewing fax machine -- that gets their attention.

    I don't know if all this holds true everywhere, but thought I'd pass it on for what it's worth. I'm so glad to see what's happening with the bill and the support that's building for the DQ exemption. I'm finally taking my first cruise next May, and I sure hope it won't be the last!
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