Attend a Town Hall Meeting
The easiest way to meet a candidate for Congress is to attend their public events. We urge you to take every opportunity to attend the events hosted by candidates from both political parties.
Find an Upcoming Local Event or Town Hall Meeting:
- Call the campaign headquarters and ask when the candidate will be in your area.
- Check the candidate’s website and social media platforms to view upcoming events.
Best Practices for Town Halls:
- Prepare your question/comment in advance.
- Do your homework on the elected official.
- At the event, put yourself in a position to ask a question. If you brought a friend, station yourselves in different places to ensure that at least one of you is called upon.
- Avoid simple yes or no questions, but instead ask in a way that requires them to share what they think and/ or what they plan to do in office.
- If you ask questions about specific legislation, be prepared to quickly explain what the legislation does. Thousands of bills are introduced each Congress, and Members of Congress and candidates don’t have them all memorized.
- Ask a question based on an action – “What will you do…?” What action will you take…?”
- Join the rope line. Candidates love to shake hands. This is another opportunity to ask your question.
- If you cannot talk directly to the candidate, try to talk to a senior staff person such as the political director or the campaign manager.
- Follow-up on the town hall with a phone call to candidate’s campaign office – this will help you stand out and get your voice heard.
Facebook Town Halls:
- Submit your questions before and during the town hall
- Invite fellow advocates to participate
- Ask fellow advocates to submit their questions
- When multiple advocates ask the same question, this would be a good opportunity to amplify that question or concern by reframing it a little and building on the previous question. For example, if someone has already asked if the candidate supports foreign assistance, say something like:
“I’m really glad this question was already asked, because I’m also a big supporter of the 1% of the budget that goes toward development and humanitarian programs. How are you going to show leadership on this issue and ensure that the U.S. continues to actively make this a healthier, safer, and more just world for all of us?”
- Discuss the importance of public policy approaches to a broadly-stated issue.
- Discuss how CARE Action has been trying to educate candidates about these issues.
- Be clear that CARE Action is encouraging candidates to develop a plan for addressing these issues.
- Point out that these are important issue to voters and they deserve to know how candidates would try to address them.
- Engage both candidates equally.
- Be prepared. Do your homework on the candidates and on the issues.
- Be polite. Your question will be best received if it is phrased respectfully and tactfully.
- Don’t be rude or insulting.
- Don’t suggest that global poverty is or should be a partisan issue.
- Don’t endorse or express support for one candidate over another on CARE’s behalf.