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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
L., L2 Nwk, Member of Executive Council
From: Louie Crew
To: John Johnson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Is it a waste of time to participate in cyber petitions?
I have assumed that signing cyber petitions is a waste of time, that
only something more personal will be taken seriously by a public
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
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.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2003 15:33:53 -0400
Subject: RE: Is it a waste of time to participate in cyber petitions?
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 B. Johnson
The Episcopal Church
Office of Government Relations
110 Maryland Avenue NE Suite 309
Washington, D.C. 20002