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Tips for Attending a Congressional Town-hall Meeting or Local Event

Congressional town-hall meetings give constituents a chance to make their voices heard. Such events generally take place in districts during congressional recesses and provide an opportunity for lawmakers to hear from the public on a wide range of concerns.

Find a Town-hall Meeting or Event in Your Area

  • Go to https://townhallproject.com or your legislator’s website, Facebook page or Twitter feed to find the date, location and time of events
  • A partial list of April 2017 Town Hall meetings is available now
  • Check your local newspaper for announcements about upcoming town hall meetings, congressional office hours, telephone town-hall calls, etc. Events are often announced on short notice or sometimes scheduled at the last minute

Prepare for the Event

  • Register (as required) for the town hall meeting or event
  • Visit your legislator’s website and social media sites to read their latest press releases, speeches or newsletters to learn about the issues they are following
  • Write down one or two brief questions to ask during the event. Focus on a specific subject—such as funding for the National Institutes of Health—and ask in a way that will generate more than a “yes” or “no” response
  • Do not include long introductory statements—just state your name and the town where you live or work
  • Practice asking your question(s) until you can recite them in 25 seconds or less

Day of the meeting

  • Arrive early and sign-in. Ask if you need to sign-up to ask a question
  • Silence the volume on your cell phone
  • Introduce yourself to the your legislator and his or her staff and offer your business card or other contact information
  • Sit in the front  of the room so you can be seen more easily when it is time for questions answers (or reach the microphones located in the aisles)

Sample questions

  • What is your position on federal funding for medical research?
  • Where does funding for medical research fit on your overall list of priorities?
  • How do you feel about increasing federal funding for medical research?
  • What are you planning to do to show your support for federal funding for research?
  • In your opinion, how does federal funding for research benefit [state or district]?
  • Do you have any concerns about the proposed fiscal year 2018 budget? 
  • What specifically concerns you about the budget proposal that was released by the White House last month (in March 2017)? 

Additional resources