Condense information into talking points for a congressional staff member
Policy advocates on Capitol Hill monitor current events regarding topics of interest to their organization and create fact sheets to send to members of congress and their staff. Fact sheets summarize information that supports your argument in such a way that a congressional staff person can understand your viewpoint. Depending on your organization, you are likely to be proactive in sending your fact sheets to a congressional office. However, there are cases where they may reach out to you and ask for talking points.
For this exercise, put together a fact sheet analyzing the effects of a funding freeze of the Environmental Protection Agency. Your goal is to persuade your member of congress to vote a certain way and will send her/him a fact sheet supporting your position.The fact sheets are typically read by a legislative assistant or associate. Address the fact sheet to a staffer in the office. For this exercise, keep in mind that the member of congress and staffers in the office may have expressed skepticism of climate-change science.
|Task 1: Identify issues the senator or representative cares about. |
To find areas of concern, think about issues their constituents might care about in their home state. The fact sheet is most effective when it is specific and personal to the target audience. Think beyond the examples provided. Be creative!
|Task 2: Research
Search for information in one or two of the categories from Task 1. For the purposes of is simulation, use sources that have digested and summarized information rather than analyzing your own data sets. You may wish to consult federal agency websites for articles, news stories, or budgets, as well as polling data, congressional hearings, op-eds, and census data.Fact sheets typically rely on graphics such as charts and graphs. For this simulation, create graphics if you have time.
Create a one-page document of bulleted talking points a staff person, typically the legislative assistant or associate, can use to make an argument on your organization’s behalf.
Fact sheets typically rely on graphics such as charts and graphs. For this simulation, create graphics if you have time. See example fact sheets from Boston University in the “Resources” tab below.
|Click to enlarge|
For this task:
Clear, concise writing
Research and synthesis
Mental adaptability to a rapidly changing environment
Ability to condense larger amounts of information
Needed in this career:
Leadership and teamwork
To view detailed lists of skills in job descriptions for policy careers, please see workforce data generated by Boston University’s BEST program.
A professional in the field of policy and advocacy may also:
Simulation author: Thi Nguyen, PhD
Simulation vetted by professionals in Boston and St. Louis