A Guide to Meeting with Members of Congress
The Federal Government Relations (FGR) team will work with you and your staff members to strengthen your Department’s messaging for policymakers, coordinate our advocacy across campus, and maximize the impact of UCLA’s efforts at the Federal level. We encourage you to fill out this questionnaire so the Federal Government Relations team can help you better prepare and deliver your UCLA message to federal policymakers, as well as coordinate your involvement in federal advocacy efforts throughout the course of the year.
In the meantime, if you have already planned a trip to Washington, DC or are engaging in direct contact with Members of Congress or their staffs, please contact the FGR staff so they can support and enhance your efforts and provide you with timely policy updates.
*If you are planning to invite an elected official to speak or attend an event on campus, please submit the Visiting Dignitary Request Form to the Office of Special Events and Protocol. The FGR team can also work with you to host these visits.
Sample Script for Congressional Meeting
Introduction (Team Leader):
Good morning/afternoon. On behalf of UCLA, thank you for taking the time to meet with us today.
Team members should introduce themselves. If you are a constituent, mention so at this time.
- We are here today to ask for your support for federally funded research, including funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy (DOE), as well other federal agencies that support research across all disciplines from health and the humanities to computing and engineering, agriculture, the oceans and the environment.
- In Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, UC received nearly $2.9 billion in federal research awards, representing more than 50 percent of the university’s total research award funding.
- UC supports robust federal investments in research, which are critical to our health, economic prosperity and international competitiveness.
- The economic benefit of UC research to the state of California is significant. For every dollar spent by UC on research, the state’s economy increases by about two dollars.
- UC research helped create the biotechnology industry and led to breakthroughs in many other fields, including the electronics, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, nanotechnology and special-effects film industries. These industries have produced millions of jobs for workers at all levels.
- UC-affiliated companies employ more than 38,000 workers across a wide range of industries, adding more than $20 billion in value to the state economy.
- Continued investment in UC’s research enterprise stimulates the economy by bringing new patented technologies to market and creating jobs, companies and industries. Almost all the industries in which California leads the world – agriculture,biotechnology, telecommunications, digital media, computers and semi-conductors, and environmental technologies – grew out of university-based research.
Tell Your Story (All):
- If you are a researcher, briefly talk about your research, its benefits and the value of federal funding.
- If you have or know someone who has benefitted from federally funded research, briefly share your story.
Closing (Team Leader):
- We urge you to support strong investments in federal research.
- Thank you again for meeting with us and for your support of the University of California.
- If you would like more information about the resources the university offers, please let us know and we can arrange a follow-up meeting with your staff.
Congressional Meeting Tips
Prior to the Meeting:
- Review the biographies and district information of the member of Congress you are meeting with. Visit the UC Federal Governmental Relations website to learn more about the university’s presence in the member’s district.
- If you are part of a group, while everyone should participate, select a spokesperson to begin and close the meeting.
- Plan what you want to say so you can stay on message.
- Always silence your cell phone before your meeting. Never take a call during a legislative meeting.
During the Meeting:
- Be on time.
- Bring a pen and paper in case the legislator/staff asks you to follow up on any issues.
- Be concise and make your points clearly.
- Engage the member/staff by sharing your experience and by asking questions.
- Make your points salient by explaining how your issue impacts the legislator’s district and constituents, as well as the region, state and nation.
- If possible, discuss the issue from a personal perspective (share your own experience or that of a family member or friend).
- Leave time for questions from the legislator/staff.
- Do not be disappointed if you meet with staff, they can be your strongest allies. They brief the member and recommend positions on key bills.
- Always be courteous and have a positive attitude.
- Work to establish long-term relationships. Whenever possible, try to arrange for follow-up opportunities.
- Remember to thank the member and his/her staff for their time before you leave.
After the Meeting:
- Follow-up with a thank you note and include your business card/contact information.