How to increase your influence in a Trump administration

On Friday, I hosted our first webinar for Earthworks' members who want to increase their influence over both politicians and political decisions, and regulations. You can see a recording of my presentation here:

Here's the upshot:

What's at stake?

  • On Capitol Hill: more legislative attacks on clean air, water and public lands. Congress can speed up mine and pipeline permitting, limit public participation and undo Obama era rules, including climate rules.
  • The Trump administration: there are things he can do without congress (like Executive Orders), including fast-tracking pipelines and mines. He can also sign bad environmental laws sent to him by Congress.

Good news

There is some good news: you, and the filibuster.

  • Your advocacy can make a difference. When you sign petitions, you are helping to show that there is huge public support for an issue. When you send an email to your representative or submit a comment on proposed regulations those are counted (but they are worth even more if you take a minute to personalize the first sentence!) 
  • And the filibuster. Even with an adversarial Congress, our Senators have an important tool, the filibuster. This gives Senators the ability to stop bad bills, sometimes just by threatening to filibuster without actually doing it. 

Make 3 phone calls a day

Call your representatives every day. There is so much going on. It doesn’t matter if your Congressperson is always on your side or cannot be swayed, they tally up the number of calls and it's making the news. Call. Rotate between district and DC offices. Give them your name and address first so they know you’re a constituent. Make it personal. Concise, but personal.

If you don't know who your representatives are or how to reach them find out here.

Other, slightly harder, ways to increase your influence

  • Show up at a community event or protest and make connections with the other people at those events.
  • Find out when your representatives have office hours or a town hall and show up.
  • Set up meetings with state offices during Congressional recess (when Congress is home). Same rules in person as on the phone, be concise and personal.
  • Get to know the local staff, you’ll find out what issues they can be swayed on. 

Real news and real facts are still important

Read your local paper and send letters to the editor. Representatives and Senators read them and sometimes seeks out the author for their perspective. Union of Concerned Scientists has tips on how to write a good LTE.

What you can and should do right now

There are two important issues you should call your Senators about today: the bill to roll back the new Bureau of Land Management methane pollution rule and the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt for Secretary of the EPA.