Episode 13: Make Town Halls Count
In episode 13, we breakdown town halls. These moments don't last long, so we talk about strategies that will make a lasting impact.
- LWV Money in Politics ACTION Kit
- LWV Redistricting ACTION Kit
- Find your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators.
- Find your state representative/delegate and state senator.
- Voting record of U.S. electeds.
- Investigate campaign cash of U.S. elected leaders.
- Virginia's campaign finance resource, VPAP.
Take Aways from the show:
- Pre-Town Hall:
- Sign up for the elected leader's newsletter and follow them on social media. Check out their website and what they support.
- Sign up for Google Alert to stay up-to-date with statements, bills, articles and whereabouts of the elected.
- Deep dive the records. Investigate voting records and campaign cash. Follow the money!
- Find out when the next town hall is. If the date isn't on the member's website, then call their office. Keep calling until you have a date confirmed.
- Organize with people. Invite friends, League members, fellow activists, and other organizations to help you make a big showing. Use social media to get the word out.
- Create a Facebook event, Meetup.com and/or EventBrite.com link to make the event travel. Share the link far and wide.
- Craft questions. Focus on your priorities. Address the elected leader's prior statements, voting record and campaign cash.
- Day of the Town Hall:
- Don't sit together. Shhh... You don't want the elected leader to know you're organized.
- Don't wear matching t-shirts or buttons unless the message is to demonstrate a mass presence. There are benefits and limitations to looking like a large group; talk about both with your members, if you're going with a group.
- For the record. Video the questions and answers. Assign one of your members to record the event using Facebook Live or Periscope (Twitter), or record it for Youtube. These will become useful later when engaging the community.
- Stay visible. Raise your hands. Show the staff and elected leader you are engaged and you want to ask questions. If the staff attempts to take the mic from you, be polite but be strong. You need your elected to answer your question. If you don't get the answer, get a group member to follow up.
- After the Town Hall:
- Talk with the Press. During the event talk about what you heard and how you felt about the elected's responses to questions. After the event, use twitter to engage the press and talk about the town hall. Remember, use . before the @ of the reporter's Twitter handle to make the post public.
- Follow-up with the elected leader. Make an appointment to talk with staff about what was or wasn't said at the town hall. Engage the elected on Twitter, too.
- Write an article in the local newspaper and in your organization's newsletter. If you have a blog or if your organization has a blog, write about the event and share your video.
- Social media spreads the word. Share pictures, video, and blog posts with the wider audience. Share with other groups' Facebook group pages, too. Civic and advocacy groups unite!
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Music by OhmLab.