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Communicating With Washington

Staff on Capitol Hill, in the White House, and in Congress often lament that they don't hear enough from scientists who depend on federal funding about the importance of scientific research to the nation. The challenge is to make communicating with Washington a part of every scientist’s professional and academic career. The American Astronomical Society's Communicating With Washington (CWW) initiative aims to rise to this challenge.

The AAS Council has allocated funds to enable AAS members to participate in Communicating With Washington. As a volunteer you will learn how to most effectively communicate with policy makers and travel to Washington, DC, to meet with White House and/or Capitol Hill staff. The goal is to have one or two astronomers visit Washington every week that Congress is in session and to visit every Congressional office, the Congressional science committee offices, and the White House — specifically, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) — over the life of the program.

The message will be to educate and ask for support for the recommended priorities of the current and previous decadal surveys for astronomy and astrophysics, planetary science, and heliophysics released by the National Research Council.

To volunteer, please sign up using the Communicating With Washington Sign-Up Form.

We try to select volunteers who balance the program by location, time of visit, career stage, and experience. Please fill out the sign-up form to be considered as a participant. NOTE: Only AAS members are eligible to participate in the CWW program.

Instructions for CWW are written for those selected to participate in the program. However, the instructions are general enough for anyone who would like to learn how to communicate with their member of Congress and policy makers in the Washington, DC, area. If you are not selected, you can still use these instructions but will not be reimbursed for your travel expenses. Please volunteer again when the opportunity is announced. If you would like to visit Washington, you can also look for other funding sources from your university department, local clubs, or advocacy groups.

You do not have to travel to Washington to meet with your member of Congress. Schedule a local visit when your member of Congress is back in your state or district. You can find instructions for a local visit at http://aas.org/policy/local_visits. 

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