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Is it a waste of time to participate in cyber petitions?



Recently I wrote to John Johnson, Domestic Policy Analyst in ECUSA's
Washington Office.  He has graciously permitted me to share our
exchange.

L., L2 Nwk, Member of Executive Council


From: Louie Crew
To: John Johnson <jjohnson@episcopalchurch.org>
Subject: Is it a waste of time to participate in cyber petitions?

John,

I have assumed that signing cyber petitions is a waste of time, that
only something more personal will be taken seriously by a public
official.

Yet someone told me that with the anthrax scares, officials in
Washington are more likely to respond to electronic lobbying.

Since you deal with this issue full-time in our Washington Office,
what is your advice?

Am I correct to assume that cyber petitions have less influence that
personalized email?

And while I am at it, what are the most direct electronic ways for me
to reach NJ's senators and my congressman, Donald Payne?  I have often
called their offices, but never connected electronically.

Thanks!

L.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2003 15:33:53 -0400
From: jjohnson@episcopalchurch.org
To: lcrew@andromeda.rutgers.edu
Subject: RE: Is it a waste of time to participate in cyber petitions?

Dr. Crew:

You are certainly correct that cyber petitions do leave something to be
desired; so does mailing however due to the intense screening of letters as
a result of Anthrax.

Here are some thoughts for advocacy that you might find helpful.

I never liked petitions back when I was on the hill (I have worked for
two U.S. Senators) because petitions represent a lazy way of advocacy.
Petitions are a great organizing and educational tool.  But the impact
is not what I would want my signature to have.

One way to impact Congresspersons and Senators via e-mail is for the
drafter of the cyber petition to cut and paste the link from a
member's individual website with language that should be communicated.

For example:  Dear Friend:

			Congress needs to support an increase in Child Care
funding of $25 Billion over the next five years.  Go to
http://www.senate.gov/~lincoln or e-mail her at..."

The communication method that I believe is most effective these days
is to type or write a letter and fax it directly to the office.  By
becoming a member of the Episcopal Public Policy Network at
http://www.episcopalchurch.org/eppn you will receive a congressional
directory with fax numbers for all offices or you can call the Capitol
switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for the members' office by name.

By far the most effective way to get a message across is to hold a
meeting of all those signing a petition and inviting your member of
Congress or Senators to that event.

I hope this information is helpful.  I would be more than happy to
expand on any of the thoughts here.  Feel free to call me anytime....
I am always happy to help folks impact the political process--regardless 
of the subject.

John

John B. Johnson
The Episcopal Church
Office of Government Relations
110 Maryland Avenue NE Suite 309
Washington, D.C. 20002
202-548-3384 (direct)
1-800-228-0515
jjohnson@episcopalchurch.org







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