Are you ready to get involved? We are excited to have you and happy to help you.
Let me officially welcome you to the team. We encourage everyone to be active and involved, but we understand that we all have our limits. Our lives are busy and the world is fast paced. So let us make things easier for you with “Tips and Tricks”, Handy “Apps and Websites”, Hints for writing Letters to the Editor and Tips for contacting your congressional Representatives.
These apps can all be found in your app store.
- BOLDBEAST RECORDER – record your cell phone calls to congressional offices or with elected officials
- COUNTABLE -National issues – lets you learn about issues and influence government with one tap
- 5 CALLS – National issues – gives you a list of current action topics to choose from with scripts and contacts, also tracks who and when you called and on what issues
- CONGRESS – National – US congress tracker, lets you track bill, votes and your elected officials and receive notices on important bill actions
- IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY – mini version of legis site – find your legislators, districts and meeting schedules (limited access)
- BUYCOTT – vote with your wallet – you choose who gets your money – boycott Koch brothers, support union workers, boycott trump products etc. – barcode scanner tells you who makes the product and if there is a campaign for or against them
Helpful hint: you can add links to websites to your desktop or phone screen for easy access to websites
- IOWA LEGISLATURE – https://www.legis.iowa.gov/ – official Iowa legislature website – look up bills, track bills, read the actual text of bills, committee meeting schedules.
- IOWA HOUSE DEMOCRATS – Keep up to date on what our elected democrats are doing to help Iowans. https://iowahouse.org/
- IOWA SENATE DEMOCRATS – Keep up to date on what our elected democrats are doing to help Iowans. https://www.senate.iowa.gov/democrats/
- INDIVISIBLE – https://www.indivisibleguide.com/
- BALLOTPEDIA – https://ballotpedia.org/ – nonprofit, nonpartisan collaborative encyclopedia designed to connect people to politics and elections at the local, state and federal level. Has lots of information on state and local politicians; backgrounds, fundraising, past election information
- POLITICO – http://www.politico.com/ – past election results by county, candidate, fundraising info
- GOOGLE – you can set alerts for topics or MOCs and get emails when they are in the news
- TURBO VOTE – https://turbovote.org/ Quick & easy to do. It will send email or text reminders when you have an election coming up.
FACEBOOK GROUPS AND PAGES
- LOUISA COUNTY DEMOCRATS – Closed Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/444833645891860/ – Our county party facebook group – this is a closed group (you must ask to join, be a registered democrat and live in Louisa County) we have decided to maintain a closed group so we can discuss party business and event plans without the general facebook user having access.
- LOUISA COUNTY DEMOCRATS – Public Page – Please like and follow our public page for shareable news, events and local information. https://www.facebook.com/Louisa-County-Iowa-Dems-1930254393657409
- IOWA SENATE DEMOCRATS – This is the link to our Senate Democrats facebook page like and follow their page for updated info on bills and info about what’s happening at the capitol https://www.facebook.com/IowaSenateDemocrats/
- IOWA HOUSE DEMOCRATS – This is the link to our House of Representatives facebook page like and follow their page for updated info on bills and info about what’s happening at the capitol https://www.facebook.com/iowahousedemocrats/
- POSTCARDS TO IOWA VOTERS – https://www.facebook.com/groups/PostcardsToIowaVoters/ – This groups focus is postcard writing campaigns for democratic/progressive candidates running for office in Iowa. There is also a national postcard to voters page.
- INDIVISIBLE IOWA SD44 HD87/88 – https://www.facebook.com/groups/375737379449717/ – Our local Indivisible facebook group for this voting district – this is a closed group (you must ask to join). If you want to keep up with what is going on in our voting district and what actions you need to take
TIPS AND TRICKS
This is some of the things we have learned along the way and we hope you will find them useful.
POSTERS FOR RALLIES, PROTEST AND EVENTS
- Use “Sharpie” markers – they don’t run in the rain – and yes this was tested lol
- “Foam board” – this makes great signs, stands up to wind and rain and are easy to hold – you can even cut hand grip holes in it
- Handles – rulers, yardsticks or even paint sticks can be used as handles or support if you are not using foam board. The best tape to attach handles “Strapping Tape” the kind reinforced with fibers, this stuff sticks and stays stuck… yes even in the rain..lol
- Want a statement piece – spray paint a large box a solid color and tape signs to all 4 sides – this is very good for a high foot traffic area – make sure you paint ALL sides of the box if you want it to stand up in rain
- Wording and lettering is very important – don’t be fancy – you want them to be able read what it says. Your lettering doesn’t have to be perfect just legible and spelled correctly.
- Wording printed from your printer – make the print very large (140), cut each word out and tape on your poster board or box, completely cover with clear packing tape to make it rain resistant
- Tailor your sign to your location – know your target, we have found that you need different style signs for a busy intersection with auto traffic verses an area with a lot of foot traffic.
- Busy intersection = large lettering with few words, remember people in cars will only have seconds or at most a minute to read your sign, even if they are stopped at the red light they will still have very limited time to read it. Think about the ONE thing you want them to know and say it in as few words as possible
- Mostly foot traffic = signs can be more elaborate and with more wording, this is a great place for the box idea. You want to grab their attention and get them to stop, read and ask you questions. Think about what is going to make them say “WHAT??” “Tell me more” “I like that” or “oh hell no”
CALLING AND EMAILING YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVE
- This is scary for EVERYONE the first few times but the more you do it the easier it gets and the better you get at it.
- They work for you – Remember He/She/They work for you or at least they are supposed to be representing you and by law you have the right to speak/contact/communicate with your elected officials. IT IS PART OF THEIR JOB
- When calling/emailing your federal congressperson’s offices – Your contact will be with staffers – remember the staffer is NOT the enemy and they can’t speak for the representative, it is their job to answer the phone and record your call and the issue you are calling about so don’t be nasty to the staffers
- When calling/emailing your state/local elected officials – They do not have staffers so you are communicating directly with them, with the exception of the Governor. Be respectful, remember you are contacting them to ask them to vote for or against something. Know your facts and be sincere.
- Your Contact info – Always give them your name and contact info – if you don’t your call will not be counted
- Prepare for the call – Before calling know what you want to say – we will do our best to keep you informed. Indivisible Iowa puts out call scripts for action items and the app 5Calls also has scripts for action on national topics. You can also research the bill or issue yourself.
- Do call requesting an action – I am asking Senator Doe to vote against bill # SF1234 Defunding Planned Parenthood because….. Or I would like Representative Doe to vote for bill #SF 5678 Protecting Net Neutrality because….. Or I want to know why Senator Doe voted against bill #7890
- Don’t call to just complain – General complaining about the terrible job he or she is doing is not going to create an action and won’t add your voice to the many others calling about a specific issue.
- Always ask for a response – you will probably get a form letter or email but it requires action on your call beyond recording who called and what they called about
- Saving contact info – when saving legislatures contact info in your phone put P in front of their name and all your politicians will be in the same place in your contact list, keep local and national separate by adding IA after the P, add additional office locations separately by adding town initials after the name – example national – “P Jane Doe DC” and local – “P IA John Doe Senate”
- Recording your calls – this can be helpful when you are given info and want to have it for reference, a staffer is nasty to you, your local elected official is rude or nasty, it can also help you soften your approach (most of us behave better when we know it’s being recorded) there are apps you can get on your smartphone to record your calls -As of 2018 Iowa law does not require notification that the call is being recorded
- Frequency – Do not call more than once a day per issue, multiple calls from the same caller on the same issue in the same day are generally recorded as 1 call. If you are calling on more than one issue it can be separate calls for each issue. Don’t give the staffer a “laundry list” of issues or bills.
- Results – It may not seem like it does any good but it really does, especially when your one call is added to the thousands of other calls on the same bill or issue – they do pay attention to the quantity
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (LTE)
This is one of our best tools for educating, energizing and activating a wide range of people in a large area. All the people familiar with politics have said LTEs are a very important tool. Below the LTE tips I have added information on Louisa County’s local and regional newspapers.
- Write your letter with the idea of educating the reader on your topic
- Use data, statistics, math and FACTS
- Your target audience should normally be the person who isn’t informed on what is going on, they are middle age and also most likely to vote, they are independents, moderate republicans and inactive democrats
- Keep in mind many newspapers have a word limit – know what it is and do not exceed it. Most word processing programs have a word counter.
- Know the publications deadlines for your local newspapers.
- Send your letter to ALL your local newspapers.
- If your letter isn’t printed contact the newspaper and ask if there is a problem. Sometimes they just misplace it or your letter gets lost.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (LTE) INFO
- THE BURLINGTON HAWKEYE 800 South Main Street, PO Box 10, Burlington, IA 52601-0010 319-754-8461 to submit online go to – http://www.thehawkeye.com/send-us-your-news then scroll down and click on “Letter to the Editor” – rules = 500 word limit – We encourage our readers to share their opinions through letters to the editor. Include your name, street address (only the city or township is printed) and a daytime phone number (used only for verification). Letters longer than 500 words will be edited or returned to the writer. Submitters of plagiarized content will be banned from this paper.
- THE WAPELLO REPUBLICAN 301 James L. Hodges Avenue, South, Wapello IA 52653 You can submit via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Rules = they do not have a word limit but I would suggest staying in the 300 word count , comes out on thursday and LTEs should be in by noon on Mondays – you can also request your letter be published in the Morning Sun News Herald – they are both printed at the same place.
- MORNING SUN NEWS-HERALD Address: 23 Division St, Morning Sun, IA 52640 Phone: (319) 868-7509 Printed by the Wapello Republican – same rules apply – when submitting ask to be printed in both papers
- THE COLUMBUS GAZETTE – 209 Main St, P.O. Box 267, Columbus Junction IA 52738 phone number is 319-728-2413 & our fax number 319-728-3272. You can submit via email email@example.com Rules = they do not have a word limit but I would suggest staying in the 300 word count, comes out on Wednesday – deadline to submit is Monday by noon
- THE MUSCATINE JOURNAL – 301 E 3rd St Muscatine, IA 52761 Phone 563-263-2331 Toll Free: 1-800-383-3198 to submit firstname.lastname@example.org Attention: LTE or online https://muscatinejournal.com/forms/online_services/letter/ Rules = 250 word limit – Include your name, street address (only the city or township is printed) and a daytime phone number (used only for verification). Letters longer than 250 words will be edited or returned to the writer. As of 2/21/18 they stopped printing LTEs in the Muscatine paper and only print in the QC Times.
- MEDIAPOLIS NEWS Address: 521 Main St, Mediapolis, IA 52637 Phone: (319) 394-3174 Website http://www.mediapolisnews.com/ or email@example.com as of 10/15/18 the website link was not working – I suggest using email to submit
- THE DES MOINES REGISTER – Letters to the Editor, The Des Moines Register, 400 Locust Street, Suite 500, Des Moines, IA 50309 submit online http://static.desmoinesregister.com/submit-a-letter/ Rules = Preference is given to letters that are 200 words or fewer, All submissions may be edited for length, accuracy and clarity and may be published or distributed in print, electronic or other forms.
- WEST LIBERTY INDEX REFUSED TO PRINT NON-RESIDENT LTEs – Address: 219 N Calhoun St, West Liberty, IA 52776 Phone: (319) 627-2814 Published Thursdays: 52 weeks a year by West Branch Times Communication Corp.; 124 W. Main Street; West Branch, Iowa 52358 Official newspaper for Muscatine County, West Liberty, West Liberty School District, Atalissa and Nichols firstname.lastname@example.org