Good morning everyone. In the midst of our second day of furlough, we have two options: 1) we can sit back and wait for a compromise, or 2) we can contact our legislators to let them know their constituents are asking for an urgent resolution for the lapse in funding so we can all get back to work for our farmers.
- Send a letter: A Capwiz alert went out this morning. We need your to contact (text, email, phone) your members in your respective states and ask them to submit the Capwiz alert. I realize that many of our members do not get Capwiz alerts. Because of this, I am also attaching a letter that members can send through email or regular mail to their legislators. There is also a cover letter attached that introduces this letter to our members. Please ask them to not send the cover letter. Please make sure you tell members to put their names and addresses on the attached letter, if they use this method in lieu of Capwiz. Email addresses for your district’s congressional contacts can be found at http://www.house.gov/ or to http://www.senate.gov/. Note: It would be awesome if the state president or state leg. chair would provide the email addresses and phone numbers for all congressional contacts in your state. Making it easier for members to have the contact info at their fingertips would encourage more participation.
- Make a phone call to your Congressional Offices: We need members to pick up the phone and call their legislators in addition to sending the letter. Members can use the letter for talking points. However, please do not read the letter word for word, but just summarize two or three main points as they see fit. For example: “Hello, my name is ______________. I am a furloughed employee of the USDA Farm Service Agency and a member of the National Association of Farm Service Agency State and County Office Employees. I am calling and asking that my member of congress work to bring the government shutdown to an end as soon as possible. Any shutdown has an immediate negative effect on my ability to maintain my family finances in this already diminished economy. I would also ask that the congressman/woman consider authorizing back pay because it would be unfair for our federal employees to be punished for the inability of congress to pass a budget. I would also ask that the congressman/woman consider making our agencies administrative budget part of program funding as most other USDA agencies are to ensure that we have the proper resources to administer farm programs.”
- Gather information from your members: I plan on contacting the SEA state presidents and state legislative chairs this evening (Weds) and will do this again tomorrow evening (Thurs) by email to gather information on the level of membership participation in sending the alert (either Capwiz or attached letter by email) as well as information learned as a result of personal phone calls. We may learn “need to know” information from some of these communications. So, when you contact your membership, please stress to them how important it is that they follow up to you with any feedback they get in making these contacts. I am asking the SEA state presidents and state legislative chairs to immediately email feedback to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. As your SEA Legislative Chair, I will compile our area’s feedback and send it on up to the national level.