Find Your Elected Officials
The Importance of Staff
One of the most important roles urologists can play is to communicate effectively with your Member of Congress. This will require that you develop personal relationships with your Member(s) of Congress. You may also benefit by getting to know your legislators’ staff — sometimes referred to as “un-elected representatives.”
The demands on a legislators’ time make staff very important. Staff members serve as legislators’ eyes and ears, bringing issues to their attention and relaying constituent concerns. While there is no substitute for working directly with a legislator at key points in the legislative process, building rapport with staff is essential for carrying out urology’s advocacy goals. For that reason, if the legislator is unavailable, you should schedule the initial meeting with a key staff aide..
Approaching staffers can be easy but their time is precious and they have other priorities... They serve their best when they act as shortstops and handle matters so their boss doesn’t have to address them. They are public servants charged with listening to all points of view. But they are quick to figure out whom to trust and that is why an approach to them has to be based on facts, fairness and respect.
— Gary Hymel, former Spokesman to former Speaker Tip O’ Neill
In a sense, the staff is a legislator’s alter ego. After you meet with a staff member, he or she is likely to summarize the meeting in a memo to the legislator. If you present your legislators with a complex problem, they probably will ask for staff recommendations before taking any action.
To facilitate your outreach to these influential staffers, contact the AACU Executive Office or access an online congressional staff directory, one of which is linked below.