Right off the bat, Jeanna Reed and I would like to thank everyone for all of the supportive comments and messages we received after our blog recounting our recent DC trip was posted. We sincerely cannot wait to read all about everyone else’s legislative outreach efforts. While we will certainly continue our outreach on a local, state, and national scale, it is important to emphasize that YOUR VOICE MATTERS. It is incumbent upon EVERY PARENT in our community to contact their US senators and representatives in order to impress upon them the importance of holding hearings to investigate the admissions of Dr. William Thompson, aka #CDCwhistleblower.
With that in mind, we would like to share with you a sort of “primer” on how to get in touch with your lawmakers, what to say, what to bring to your meeting, etc. The most significant impact will come from a unified message with the addition of your personal stories of how vaccine injury has impacted your life.
- Visit http://whoismyrepresentative.com/ and enter your zip code to determine who your legislators are.
- Go to each individual legislator’s website to get contact information. Most sites will have a list toward the bottom of the home page that gives details on office locations throughout their home state, as well as their DC office. There you will find phone numbers. Choose the office nearest to your home and call. You can also use the automated email function which is on most sites for elected officials.
- When you call, be sure to be brief. Ask to speak with the Scheduler. If the Scheduler is not available to speak on the phone, ask for their email address. Also ask for the email address of the Chief of Staff (for DC offices) or Regional Director (for state offices).
- Visit http://www.majorityleader.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/114thCongressFirstSession.pdf and https://www.senate.gov/legislative/resources/pdf/2015_calendar.pdf to see when lawmakers are in session (in DC) and when they could potentially meet in their districts.
- In your email to the Scheduler and Chief of Staff/Regional Director, simply state something along the lines of “I’m a constituent in [legislator name]’s district and would like the opportunity to meet with him/her to discuss the recent recorded admissions of senior CDC scientist Dr. William Thompson. As you may already be aware, he has disclosed that he and his colleagues at the CDC deliberately manipulated data on a 2004 study in order to suppress a link between vaccines and autism. This scientific misconduct is deeply concerning and should be the subject of hearings to investigate the CDC’s actions.” It is helpful to include a timeframe during which you would be available to meet so that they can better assist you.
- If you do not get a response within a week, try again (by phone and email).
- When you do receive a reply, you might be offered a meeting with a staffer as an alternative, and that’s to be expected. Do not be disappointed…you are still getting a meeting and that staffer will be able to disseminate the information.
When you go to your meetings, it is best to dress appropriately, i.e. business attire. Bringing your affected loved one, if possible, will leave a lasting impression. If you can’t bring them, provide a photo. Don’t be afraid to go in groups of two or more if you can arrange it with other advocates.
- The proper documents will be important. The one-page summary stapled on top of the official complaint submitted to the HHS’s Office of Research Integrity is ideal. THESE DOCUMENTS ARE INCLUDED AT THE END OF THIS POST. This complaint details how the fraud was orchestrated. MAKE SURE THESE DOCUMENTS GET INTO THE HANDS OF THE LEGISLATOR OR STAFFER.
- DO YOUR HOMEWORK by studying the complaint so that you are able to briefly explain the original findings and what was done to manipulate the data. There is no need to go into great detail. The fact that data was covered up is enough to elicit concern.
- TELL THEM ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH VACCINE INJURY. This puts a personal touch on things and brings it back to why hearings are important to you.
- Be concise. You will only have about fifteen minutes of access to the legislator or staffer, so please do not try to go into deep detail about related issues. While it may seem important to touch upon things like the Merck whistleblower lawsuit or even attempts to legislate vaccine choice, you may not have the time. The focus of these meetings will be the whistleblower admissions (and the consequences of the fraud, such as obstruction of justice for families involved in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program and failure to fund further research into vaccines and autism) and your personal story. Deviating from this will muddy the waters, so to speak.
- End your meeting with a simple, doable ask. You want congressional hearings and you want them ASAP.
- Within a week, try to send a thank you note, either by mail or email, expressing your gratitude for their time.
- Within a month, touch base with the person you met with and ask for an update.
- Be professional, be focused, be knowledgeable, be prepared and be confident.
~Michelle Taff Schneider (Lone Star)