There are two types of meetings with Members of Congress: meetings in Washington, DC and meetings in your Members home district. Below are complete instructions for scheduling both kinds of meetings.

WASHINGTON, DC MEETING



 

How to Schedule a Meeting - Washington DC

You will need to speak with two staff members in the Member of Congress’ Washington, D.C. office in order to schedule your meeting:

1. Judiciary Legislative Assistant (Judiciary LA) – This is the staff member who handles judiciary issues by meeting with constituents, Judiciary Committee staff members and other interested parties and briefing the Member of Congress and on the issue.

2. Scheduler – This staff member handles the schedule for the Member of Congress.

To schedule your meeting, contact your Member of Congress’ Washington, D.C. office, and ask to speak to the person who handles judiciary issues. This is usually the Judiciary LA unless there are vacant positions in that office. Click HERE for contact information of Members of Congress.

When you reach the right staff person:

1. WHO - Tell the staff person who you are (constituent, if you are involved with a Drug Court, etc.) and that you would like to set up a meeting with your Member of Congress during your time in Washington, D.C.

2. WHAT - Tell the staff person that you would like to update the Member on the Drug Court work in his/her community or state and discuss the Federal funding.

3. CONTACT - Ask for the staff person's email and/or fax number so that you may send a meeting request letter* and a copy of NADCP's Capitol Hill Brief.

It is important to give information to the staff person prior to the meeting in order for the Member of Congress to be informed and prepared for your meeting.


4. SCHEDULE – The Judiciary LA will usually transfer you to the Scheduler, however, it is best to get the Scheduler's name and contact information from the Judiciary LA prior to the transfer.

5. FOLLOW-UP – Pursue the Scheduler to ensure the meeting has been arranged. Staff on Capitol Hill are extremely busy, so do not be afraid to call back or email if you do not get a response. Remember, this is YOUR representative. You have a right to meet with him or her. Ask if they received your request letter*. If they did not, send it again until a meeting date and time is set.

Example of Call:

“Hello, my name is Jane Smith from (insert city, state). I will be in Washington, D.C. on (insert date) and would like to come by and talk to the Congressman/woman about Drug Courts in our community and discuss federal funding.”

“Thank you for taking time to discuss this important issue with me and for helping to schedule a meeting. May I have your email and fax number in order to provide you with additional information on Drug Courts, as well as, the name and email address for the Scheduler?”


*NOTE: Due to heightened security measures on Capitol Hill regarding the scanning of mail, you are encouraged to fax/email meeting requests to Congressional offices. Mailed letters may take weeks to reach Congressional offices.

DOWNLOAD INSTRUCTIONS

 



How to Prepare for Your Meeting - Washington, DC

Prior to the Meeting


Getting Ready – Once you have a meeting scheduled, NADCP will provide legislative packets that you can pass on to your Member of Congress. To receive these packets, send an email to Tonya Voelker at [email protected] with the following information:


  • Name of Member/Staff You are Meeting With
  • Date, Time and Location of Meeting
  • Number of Packets You Need


2. Prepare
– Meet with the Drug Court team to determine key items to present to the Member of Congress. NADCP can provide you with updated results from the newest state and national Drug Court research.

3. Re-Confirm – Congress Members’ schedules are often rearranged at the last minute. A couple of days prior to the meeting contact the Scheduler to confirm your meeting date and time.


During the Meeting

Arrive 10 – 15 minutes early to the meeting in order to give yourself time to get through security and to find the office. Expect the meeting to last 15 – 20 minutes. Remember to leave time for questions and answers.

1.Brief Introductions
– Introduce yourself and everyone attending the meeting to the Member of Congress. Explain your connection to Drug Court and that you are a constituent. Remember, you are the expert.

2. Knowledge of Drug Courts
– Ask the Member how familiar he/she is with Drug Courts. If the Member is not that familiar, you should give a basic overview of Drug Courts before you proceed to discuss the success of your Drug Court. You may want to refer to the About Drug Courts document.

3. Overview of Your Drug Court
– Tell the Member about your success. Provide information, data and any research on your Drug Court.

4. Overview of Drug Courts Nationally:

  • Drug Courts Save Money – as much as $27 for every $1 invested
  • Drug Courts Cut Crime – 75% of Drug Court graduates remain arrest free
  • Drug Courts Serve Veterans – Drug Courts and Veterans Treatment Courts ensure that justice-involved veterans are connected with the benefits and services they have earned


5. Ask Your Member of Congress to send a letter to the Appropriation Committee in support of Drug Court funding for the:

  • Drug Court Discretionary Grant Program, Department of Justice
  • Drug Treatment Court Initiative, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Department of Health and Human Services
  • Don’t forget to ask to be copied on the letter (this is standard practice) and send a copy to NADCP so we can help you follow up in D.C.


6. Thank Them for Their Support – Leave a copy of the NADCP Drug Court Capitol Hill Brief and your contact information.

7. Follow-Up – Within a week of your visit, send a thank you note via email or fax. See our ‘Follow-up’ page for more information.

DOWNLOAD INSTRUCTIONS

 

 

DISTRICT MEETING


 

How to Schedule a District Meeting

Prior to contacting the Member of Congress’ office, check the Congressional schedule for Recess/Congressional Work Weeks to determine when the Member will be in the District.

  • U.S. House of Representatives 2012 Schedule
  • U.S. Senate 2012 Schedule


You will need to speak with two staff members in the Member of Congress’ Washington, D.C. Office in order to schedule your meeting in the District:

1. Judiciary Legislative Assistant (Judiciary LA)
– This is the staff member who handles judiciary issues by meeting with constituents, Judiciary Committee staff members and other interested parties and briefing the Member of Congress and on the issue.

2. In-District Scheduler
– This staff member handles the in-district schedule for the Member of Congress. This person may handle both in-district and Washington, D.C. schedules for the Member.

To schedule your meeting, contact your Member of Congress’ Washington, D.C. office, and ask to speak to the person who handles judiciary issues. This is usually the Judiciary LA unless there are vacant positions in that office. Click HERE for contact information of Members of Congress.

When you reach the right staff person:

1. WHO - Tell the staff person who you are (constituent, if you are involved with a Drug Court, etc.) and that you would like to set up a meeting with your Member of Congress in the District during the recess [give specific dates].

2. WHAT
- Tell the staff person that you would like to update the Member on the Drug Court work in his/her community or state and discuss the Federal funding.

3. CONTACT - Ask for the staff person's email and/or fax number so that you may send a meeting request letter* and a copy of NADCP's Capitol Hill Brief.

It is important to give information to the staff person prior to the meeting in order for the Member of Congress to be informed and prepared for your meeting.

4. SCHEDULE – The Judiciary LA will usually transfer you to the In-District Scheduler, however, it is best to ask for the In-District Scheduler's name and contact information from the Judiciary LA prior to the transfer.

5. FOLLOW-UP – Pursue the In-District Scheduler to ensure the meeting has been arranged. Staff are extremely busy, so do not be afraid to call back or email if you do not get a response. Remember, this is YOUR representative. You have a right to meet with him or her. Ask if they received your request letter*. If they did not, send it again until a meeting date and time is set.

Example of Call:

“Hello, my name is Jane Smith from (insert city, state). I would like to schedule a meeting with the Congressman/woman while he/she is in the District on (insert specific dates) to discuss Drug Courts in our community and the Federal funding.”

“Thank you for taking time to discuss this important issue with me and for helping to schedule a meeting. May I have your email and fax number in order to provide you with additional information on Drug Courts, as well as, the name and email address for the In-District Scheduler?”


*NOTE: Due to heightened security measures on Capitol Hill regarding the scanning of mail, you are encouraged to fax/email meeting requests to Congressional offices. Mailed letters may take weeks to reach Congressional offices.

DOWNLOAD INSTRUCTIONS




How to Prepare for Your District Meeting

Prior to the Meeting


1. Getting Ready – Once you have a meeting scheduled, NADCP will provide legislative packets that you can pass on to your Member of Congress. To receive these packets, send an email at least 10 days prior to the meeting to Tonya Voelker at [email protected] with the following information:

  • Name of Member/Staff You are Meeting With
  • Date, Time and Location of Meeting
  • Number of Packets You Need


2. Prepare – Meet with the Drug Court team to determine key items to present to the Member of Congress. NADCP can provide you with updated results from the newest state and national Drug Court research.

3. Re-Confirm
– Congress Members’ schedules are often rearranged at the last minute. A couple of days prior to the meeting contact the Scheduler to confirm your meeting date and time.


During the Meeting


Arrive 10 minutes early to the meeting in order to give yourself time to find the District office or meeting place. Expect the meeting to last 15 – 20 minutes. Remember to leave time for questions and answers.

1. Brief Introductions
– Introduce yourself and everyone attending the meeting to the Member of Congress. Explain your connection to Drug Court and that you are a constituent. Remember, you are the expert.

2. Knowledge of Drug Courts
– Ask the Member how familiar he/she is with Drug Courts. If the Member is not that familiar, you should give a basic overview of Drug Courts before you proceed to discuss the success of your Drug Court. You may want to refer to the About Drug Courts document.

3. Overview of Your Drug Court
– Tell the Member about your success. Provide information, data and any research on your Drug Court and the impact on your community.

4. Overview of Drug Courts Nationally:

  • Drug Courts Save Money – as much as $27 for every $1 invested
  • Drug Courts Cut Crime – 75% of Drug Court graduates remain arrest free
  • Drug Courts Serve Veterans – Drug Courts and Veterans Treatment Courts ensure that justice-involved veterans are connected with the benefits and services they have earned


5. Ask Your Member of Congress to send a letter to the Appropriations Committee in support of Drug Court funding for the:

  • Drug Court Discretionary Grant Program, Department of Justice
  • Drug Treatment Court Initiative, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Department of Health and Human Services
  • Don’t forget to ask to be copied on the letter (this is standard practice) and send a copy to NADCP so we can help you follow up in D.C.


6. Thank Them for Their Support – Leave a copy of the NADCP Drug Court Capitol Hill Brief and your contact information.

7. Follow-Up – Within a week of your visit, send a thank you note via email or fax. See our ‘Follow-up’ page for more information.

DOWNLOAD INSTRUCTIONS

 

 

INVITE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TO YOUR DRUG COURT

The best way for Members of Congress to understand Drug Courts, how Drug Courts affect our communities, and the impact Drug Courts have on not only lives but also crime and government budgets is to see Drug Courts in action.  Inviting Members of Congress to your Drug Court Graduations or other Drug Court events is a very important step in educating the Members.

Ensure your Members of Congress see the work your Drug Court does for the community.  One visit can go a long way toward protecting the resources that fund the very programs that are important to you.

 

1. CONTACT the D.C. OFFICE – Before you send an invitation, contact the Member of Congress’ Washington, D.C. office to inform staff members you will be extending an invitation.

(a) Ask who in the office manages the schedule and how they prefer to receive an invitation. Make sure you receive the Scheduler’s contact information in order to send the invitation and follow-up.


(b) Click HERE to find the contact information for your Members of Congress.


2. SEND INVITATION
- After the initial call, send the invitation the preferred way (this may be an invitation on letterhead emailed or faxed to the office and/or a form completed with event information)

(a) Include date, time, location of the event and your contact information in the invitation, but also try to include facts that will get the attention of the Member by including how many people will attend, if you plan to invite the media, etc.

(b) See the sample invitation letter.


3. FOLLOW-UP – Contact the Scheduler in 2 – 3 days after submitting the invitation to ensure it was received and to provide any additional information the Scheduler may have.

(a) If the Scheduler says they have not made a decision on the invitation request yet:

  • Acknowledge the amount of requests the Scheduler receives and thank the Scheduler for his/her time trying to accommodate.
  • You may also want to mention any notable figures, public officials or community leaders who have confirmed attendance to the event.
  • Ask when would be a good time to call back to confirm.


(b) If the Scheduler says the Member of Congress will not be able to attend:

  • Ask if there is another date that would work better (for future invites).
  • Ask if there is a staff member who would be able to attend in the Member’s place.


(c) If the Scheduler says the Member of Congress will be able to attend:

  • Thank the Scheduler for his/her help.
  • Confirm the key details: date, time, length of event, Member’s Role.
  • Provide your cell phone number for any last minute changes.
  • If you are inviting media to your event, ask to speak to the Communications Director/Press Secretary so you can coordinate details.



4. MEDIA – If you are inviting media to your event, click HERE for the media kit and contact the Communications Director/Press Secretary for the Member of Congress attending your event.


5. EVENT DAY

  • Expect that staff members may accompany the Member of Congress even if it was not specifically mentioned.
  • Consider appointing a person to greet and/or escort the official during the event and provide materials about Drug Courts to the Member including the NADCP Capitol Hill Brief and any state or local Drug Court information, data or research.
  • Ensure that media representatives who attend know the elected official is present. Likewise, ensure the Member of Congress and his/her staff know that media is present.



6.THANK-YOU – Follow-up within a week with a thank you note and any pictures you would like to include from the event to the Member of Congress.*

*NOTE: Due to heightened security measures on Capitol Hill regarding the scanning of mail, you are encouraged to email/fax written correspondence to Congressional offices. Mailed letters may take weeks to reach Congressional offices.

DOWNLOAD INSTRUCTIONS

 

 

 

FOLLOW UP AFTER MEETING

Follow up is a very important step to any contact or communication with a Member of Congress. It not only allows for you to thank the Member for his/her time toward your Drug Court, but also allows for opportunities to develop a relationship with the Member of Congress and the staff. Here are three easy steps to take to ensure you stay connected with the Member after your Washington, DC or district meeting.

 

 

1. THANK YOU – Within a week of your meeting or event, follow up with a note of thanks.* You may want to include photos or local news article about the meeting or event.

2. COMMUNICATE – Do not let your visit with a Member of Congress be a one-time event. Continue building your relationship with the Member through meaningful contacts. Below is a list of ways you can maintain communication with your Member of Congress.

  • In-District Meetings
  • Washington, D.C. Meetings
  • Invitation to Drug Court Graduation or other Drug Court Event
  • Send news articles about Drug Courts in your community
  • Send a copy of your Drug Court newsletter (local or state newsletter)



3. TELL US – Help NADCP on Capitol Hill by telling us about your communication and connections with Members of Congress. Email any letters, articles, pictures or just information to Tonya Voelker at [email protected]

*NOTE: Due to heightened security measures on Capitol Hill regarding the scanning of mail, you are encouraged to fax/email meeting requests to Congressional offices. Mailed letters may take weeks to reach Congressional offices.

DOWNLOAD INSTRUCTIONS