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Informational Email - Local Congressional Visits Day
Marcos Huerta
John Bahcall Public Policy Fellow
blog.aas.org

Again this summer, the AAS is planning to coordinate a "local congressional visits day" during the summer district work period, which I mentioned in my recent Washington News column. The congressional "district work period" is about a month in length from 3 August to 4 September, so there will be opportunities for AAS members to visit local offices and perhaps meet your local member of Congress - either in the district where you work or where you live.

Last year, while there were several successful meetings with local offices, no one was able to meet with their member. I hope that by starting the appointment process earlier this year, we will find a way for more AAS members to have a chance to talk to their House members. However, more meetings are likely to occur with staff than with the members themselves. Few district offices will have local staff with scientific expertise, but we hope an ongoing local visits day in the summer should a way to establish rapport and relationships with the local office staff. Also, with district offices typically a short drive away, it will be easy for students to either attend, or accompany faculty members on such a visit.

The primary purpose of a local visit will be to tell your story of yourself and your institution. You can let the office know you're a resource if they have questions, inform them about the scientific and outreach events your department or institution sponsors, and how these enhance the community and state. The AAS will provide some downloadable documents to leave behind, information on contacting the local office and scheduling a visit, and depending on the number of interested AAS members, coordinate one or more conference calls before the recess to answer questions.

If you would like to participate in making a local visit, please fill out the form at the link below, by July 1.

http://aas.org/policy/localvisits09_form

Based on the respondents, we'll create a Local CVD mailing list and contact interested participants with additional information. I'll also arrange a conference call to discuss visit logistics and appointment scheduling. (hopefully with some members who participated last year)

I'll contact all those who email me expressing interest with additional information and links to materials as we get closer to the recess. For now, if you're interested in participating, it may be helpful to locate your Senate and House members and their district offices. You can find this information at: http://aas.org/policy/aas.bios.html

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