Make Plans Now to Meet with Your Members of Congress in August:
Build Support for Safe Routes to School
July 29, 2009
As August draws near, many Americans are thinking about vacations and trips to the beach or pool. But – it’s also an important time to connect with your Members of Congress, who spend August at home in their districts talking with constituents. That makes it a perfect time to discuss Safe Routes to School with your Members of Congress. Here are key ways you can help:
1. Set up a meeting: Request a meeting with your Senators and/or House member during August. Requesting a meeting is as simple as calling the scheduler in your Member’s nearest local district office to check availability. If a meeting in August isn’t possible, reach out to see if your Senators and Representative can join you for a Safe Routes to School kick-off event as soon as school reconvenes or for International Walk to School Day. For a step-by-step guide on how to plan for a meeting or event—including a sample meeting request letter and tips for preparing for the meeting or event—please see our Toolkit for Building Congressional Champions.
2. Attend an existing event: Watch the websites of your Members of Congress or your local newspaper to find out when your Senators or Representative might be holding a town hall event to hear from constituents or when they may be participating in local events. Go to these events and try to get a minute with the Member of Congress and ask him or her to support Safe Routes to School.
3. Send a letter: If you aren’t able to make an in-person connection, please contact your Senators and ask them to support the new Senate Safe Routes to School bill, S. 1156. You can either write an individual letter or ask your organization, school district, or mayor to write your Senators, using our sample organization letter as a template (.doc).
What is “the ask” for your Members of Congress?
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership is working to ensure that Safe Routes to School will expand in the next transportation bill to $600 million per year and include high schools; have simplified regulations and faster project delivery; and utilize stronger research and evaluation. You can help make sure Members of Congress know about Safe Routes to School and what they can do in Congress to support the program:
Tell your Senators or Representative that Safe Routes to School is making communities safer for children walking and bicycling and helping children get into healthier, greener habits.
Talk about your own experiences with Safe Routes to School and the benefits you’ve seen for schools, communities, children, and families.
If you are talking with a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, ask him or her to support the Safe Routes to School provisions within the Surface Transportation Authorization Act.
If you are talking to one of your Senators, ask him or her to co-sponsor S. 1156, the Safe Routes to School Program Reauthorization Act. [Both the Surface Transportation Authorization Act and S. 1156 would reauthorize and strengthen Safe Routes to School.]
Don’t forget to report back to the Safe Routes to School National Partnership by e-mailing Margo Pedroso, Deputy Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is also available to help if you have questions or need assistance with your meeting/event planning or messaging. Thank you for your support and action on behalf of Safe Routes to School!