Our power grows when we join our voices together and speak out for justice. When Congress heads home for recess, constituents like you can engage members in person on issues like protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Use this toolkit for help influencing officials when they are back home, especially during local town hall meetings.
Why town halls? There is no better way to influence your representatives than in-person conversations. Town halls are a longstanding American tradition where our elected representatives must listen and respond to the concerns of their constituents. Remember: you are their boss.
Town halls are so important, here’s how how to prep for a town hall (or other) meeting:
You can find out about town halls your representatives are holding through their newsletter or on their website, you can also determine if they’re hosting a meeting in your community by calling their office. Here are some tips once you see that one is scheduled.
- Come early. Sometimes you’ll have a chance to meet your member in person before the event gets started.
- Plan one question in advance.
We suggest: “Presently there is a mandated oil development program in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Americans love our wild places and public lands, and the majority think we shouldn’t sell these places off for more dirty oil — especially when we urgently need to address climate change. I urge you to do all you can to protect the Arctic Refuge. Will you vote to support strong protections and against any attempts to weaken protection for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?" (You can also connect the Arctic Refuge with your local community by using local conservation or environmental issues as examples. Find some additional Arctic Refuge talking points here.)
- Raise your hand early so you can get your question in before the audience gets warmed up.
- Bring a sign! Even if you don’t get a chance to ask a question, you can hold up your sign to catch their eye – or any local press. Here’s a link to an Arctic Refuge sign.
- Stay after the meeting to see if you can meet with your member one-on-one.
- Share contact information with anyone asking questions similar to yours – it’s good to have allies for later efforts.
A provision included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 mandated two oil and gas lease sales for the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and despite the epic failure of the first sale, we must show strong congressional support for a permanent protection for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, before the second mandated lease sale takes place.
Importantly, even if a second lease sale equally fails, oil and gas would remain a legislative purpose of the Refuge unless reversed by Congress. Congress must take action to prevent the shortsighted destruction of this treasured wildlife refuge.