You Don’t Get If You Don’t Ask.
About a month from now, NARP members will be gathering in Washington, DC, for three days of meetings. One day is devoted to guest speakers and workshops, one day is mostly for NARP business, and one day is when we all march up to Capitol Hill to call upon our elected representatives and bang the drum for passenger rail.
Of course, most of us don’t actually get to see our House members and a face to face with a senator is rare . . . especially so this year, I’d guess. Probably 80-to-90 percent of the time, we meet with the staff person responsible for transportation issues.
In years past, we would have a list of issues—rail projects that needed funding or regulations that needed changing. Collectively that’s known in the halls of Congress as “The Ask”.
The Ask is pretty simple this year: Don’t let Trump and the conservative Republicans kill Amtrak’s long-distance trains. That, of course, is the probable outcome if Congress does what Trump wants and eliminates the federal subsidy for Amtrak.
For those inclined to pitch in and aid this effort, here are the very few guidelines for making contacts as effective as possible:
1. Contact your representative and your two senators.
2. Telephone their offices. Letters and emails are not always read, but telephone calls are logged and your position on each issue is noted.
3. Ask for the staff person responsible for transportation issues. If not immediately available, speak to whoever answered the phone.
4. Give your name and address. Be sure to include your ZIP code so they know you are a constituent.
5. Have your “Ask” boiled down to a nice, tight statement. Something like, “Please tell the Congressman to make sure that Amtrak gets the funding they need to keep the long-distance trains running.”
Click here for more information. It’ll take you to the relevant page on the NARP website.