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Step 2: Now Get Ready to Meet with Your Congressman

The 2006 elections are already beginning to heat up. The goal of the Truth and Consequences campaign is to meet with every Congressman throughout the country to explain how the Violence Against Women Act is violating persons’ civil rights on a massive scale.

On November 7, each Congressional District around the country will elect one person to the House of Representatives. We want your elected official to speak out and urge that Congress hold civil rights hearings to investigate the abuses.

The first step of our campaign is to contact your Congressman’s scheduler and set up a meeting. If you haven’t done that yet, you’ll need to do this now, because campaign schedules fill up quickly. Our June 26 Alert explains how: www.mediaradar.org/alert20060626.php

Now, prepare yourself for the big meeting, ideally to be held in August. Here’s what you need to do:

STEP 1: Find out what party the Congressman belongs to and an idea of his/her voting record. You can get that information from the Congressman’s website. In general Republicans are more conservative and Democrats are more liberal. For liberals you want to present your arguments in terms of equality and fairness. For conservatives you want to present your arguments in terms of responsibility and right-and-wrong.

STEP 2: Read through the candidate handout, which is posted on the RADAR website: http://www.mediaradar.org/docs/Candidate_Handout-Civil_Rights.pdf. This is what you will be handing out to the Congressman and/or staff at the meeting.

STEP 3: Do a little background reading so you can explain the problems with VAWA and handle questions in a confident manner. Start with RADAR’s Special Report, “Without Restraint: The Use and Abuse of Domestic Restraining Orders,” which can be found at: www.mediaradar.org/docs/VAWA-Restraining-Orders.pdf. Try to scan RADAR’s other Special Reports.

STEP 4: Begin to practice your verbal presentation. This helps because you are more likely to remember the points you want to make. It also helps to think through ahead of time any questions you may encounter and what your response will be.

Follow these steps and you’ll be ready for a successful discussion. Next week’s Alert will explain what to do at the actual meeting.

Note: The focus of our Truth and Consequences campaign is to meet with candidate – usually the incumbent – for the House of Representatives. But if one of your Senators is also running for election this year, feel free to follow the same procedure to meet with your Senator’s staff.

Date of RADAR Release: July 10, 2006

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R.A.D.A.R. – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation's approach to solving domestic violence. http://mediaradar.org