How To Contact Your Congressperson

How To Contact Your Congressperson

You have a voice in our democracy -- use it!
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With all of the negativity coming from the new Trump administration, it's easy to feel like you're powerless. But the silver lining in this cloud of despair is that we still live in a democracy, which means that your voice can and will be heard. People all over the country have been coming together for rallies, protests, and marches in opposition to Trump's policies, which is great.

However, you don't always need to gather a large group for the government to listen to you. Another great way to make your voice be heard is to talk to your representatives! There are people up there in Congress whose sole purpose is to represent you. Do you have an opinion on education? Abortion? Immigration? Taxes? Then let your Congressperson know!

If you need a little refresher from your high school government class, remember that Congress is made up of two sides: the Senate and the House of Representatives. Each state in the U.S. has two Senators for a total of 100 Senators in Congress. The number of representatives a state has in the House of Representatives depends on the state's population.

For example, California, the largest state in the country, has 53 representatives. Georgia, a smaller state, has 14 representatives. As per our system of checks and balances, if the government wants to pass a bill, it must be voted on by both sides of Congress. If it passes through a majority vote by both the House and the Senate, the president has 10 days to approve it or veto it. The judicial branch decides how these laws will be enforced.

A Congressperson's job is to represent you, so they really value your input (and they really do listen, because making you happy gets them re-elected!). Your representatives don't just exist in Washington D.C.- they have offices in your district and across the country. To find contact information for your representative in the House, look here. To find contact information for your Senators, look here. Here are the best ways to get in touch with your representatives.

Call them

It's as easy as picking up the phone! Many former congressional aides have said that phone calls are the most effective way to contact your representatives. Each Congressperson has an office with a team of people to field your calls. These staffers log all of the calls that they receive during business hours. When you call them, make sure you know what you're going to say. Tell them how you want them to vote on a certain issue, prepare any questions that you want to ask, and be ready to provide your personal information so they can verify that you're calling from the right district.

Sign a petition

But not one of those Change.org petitions. Change.org isn't the best for actually making a change, because the website doesn't verify who signs their petitions, which means that people can sign the same petition multiple times or under fake accounts. If you want to make a real change with a real petition, use a whitehouse.gov petition. If the petition gets 100,000 signatures (that are from verified email accounts) in 30 days, then it has to be reviewed by the White House. The White House will even send the people who signed the petition an email when they've reviewed and responded to the requests.

Email them

Democracy.io makes it super easy to email your representatives. All you have to do is enter your address and Democracy.io will find your Senators and district representative for you. An automated email system is already in place that lets you choose the topic you wish to write about, whether it's Social Security or foreign affairs. This ensures that your email will get where it needs to be. Make sure that you specifically state in your letter what you want the Congressperson to do and why, but keep it short- they get tons of emails every day!

Send them a letter

Once you've found your representative's office mailing address, write them a letter! Again, make sure that your letter is concise and to the point, because these people have hundreds of pieces of mail to sort through every day. Tell them why you're writing, what specific bill you're referring to, and what action you want them to take. Be sure to address them properly and to include your information as well so it can be verified for accuracy. For more tips on writing to your Congressperson, click here.


If you want to be up-to-date on bills going through Congress, you can subscribe to a free daily or weekly newsletter that will tell you which bills are coming up for debate. If you want to stay up-to-date on the political climate in general, try theSkimm -- they give you a free daily run-down of all the hottest news stories.

Cover Image Credit: Human Rights Campaign

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10 Things I Threw Out AFTER Freshman Year Of College

Guess half the stuff on your packing list doesn't really matter
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I spent the entire summer before my freshman year of college so WORRIED.

I also spent most of my money that summer on miscellaneous dorm stuff. I packed the car when the time finally came to move in, and spent the drive up excited and confused about what the heck was actually going on.

Freshman year came and went, and as I get ready to go back to school in just a few short weeks (!!), I'm starting to realize there's just a whole bunch of crap I just don't need.

After freshman year, I threw out:

1. Half my wardrobe.

I don't really know what I was thinking of owning 13 sweaters and 25 T-shirts in the first place. I wear the same five T-shirts until I magically find a new one that I probably got for free, and I put on jeans maybe four times. One pair is enough.

2. Half my makeup.

Following in the theme of #1, if I put on makeup, it's the same eyeliner-mascara combination as always. Sometimes I spice it up and add lipstick or eyeshadow.

3. My vacuum.

https://secure.img1-ag.wfcdn.com/im/d5ea3c03/resize-h2000-p1-w2000%5Ecompr-r85/3021/30217778/Express+6+Volt+Cordless+Bagless+Handheld+Vacuum.jpg

One, I basically never did it. Two, if I REALLY needed to vacuum, dorms rent out cleaning supplies.

4. Most of my photos from high school.

I didn't throw them ALL away, but most of them won't be making a return to college. Things change, people change, your friends change. And that's okay.

5. Excess school supplies.

Binders are heavy and I am lazy. I surprisingly didn't lose that many pens, so I don't need the fifty pack anymore. I could probably do without the crayons.

6. Cups/Plates/Bowls/Silverware.

Again, I am lazy. I cannot be bothered to wash dishes that often. I'll stick to water bottles and maybe one coffee cup. Paper plates/bowls can always be bought, and plastic silverware can always be stolen from different places on campus.

7. Books.

I love to read, but I really don't understand why I thought I'd have the time to actually do it. I think I read one book all year, and that's just a maybe.

8. A sewing kit.

I don't even know how to sew.

9. Excessive decorations.

It's nice to make your space feel a little more cozy, but not every inch of the wall needs to be covered.

10. Throw pillows.

At night, these cute little pillows just got tossed to the floor, and they'd sit there for days if I didn't make my bed.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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We're All Thinking It, I'm Saying It: Too Many People Are Running For President

I'm all for options, but man, do we really need 24? I mean, I can barely pick a flavor of ice cream at Baskin Robbins let alone a potential President.

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There are, currently, 23 Democrats running for President. On the Republican side, there's, of course, Trump, but only one other candidate, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld. Democrats have a whole range of people running, from senators to congressmen, a former vice-president, and even a spiritual advisor. We can now say that there are DOZENS of people running for President in 2020.

Joe Biden has been leading the pack for quite some time now. He was even leading polls before he announced his campaign. Although he is the frontrunner, there really is no big favorite to win the nomination. Biden has been hovering around the mid-30s in most polls, with Bernie Sanders coming in second. Other minor candidates in the hunt are Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Kamala Harris.

After the surprising defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016, Democrats have become electrified and have a mission to take back the White House after winning back the House of Representatives in 2018. There are so many people running in 2020, it seems that it will be hard to focus on who is saying what and why someone believes in something, but in the end, there can only be one candidate. This is the most diverse group of candidates ever, several women are running, people of color, the first out gay candidate, and several more.

There could be a problem when it comes to debate time. I mean, the first debate is next month. Having around 20-plus people on stage at the same time, debating each other kinda sounds like a nightmare. How can someone get their point across in the right amount of time when someone else is going to cut them off? Debates are usually around an hour and a half. So, if you divide it up, each candidate would get just under five minutes to speak. That would be in a perfect world of course.

Democrats seriously believe that they can beat Trump in 2020. They say they have learned from the mistakes of 2016, and have the guts and the momentum to storm back into the White House. By July of next year, there will be only one candidate left. Will they be able to reconcile the divide during the primaries? We will see. It will surely be a fun election cycle, so make sure to have your popcorn ready and your ballot at hand to pick your favorite candidate, no matter what party you lean towards.

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