ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, has told Section Mangers that while promotion and positive publicity about the Amateur Radio Parity Act (HR 1301) are always helpful, the most useful action radio amateurs can take is to contact their members of Congress, urging them to sign on as a bill cosponsor. As of June 9, 66 members of the US House in both parties were listed as cosponsors to the proposed legislation, which would direct the FCC to extend its rules relating to reasonable accommodation of Amateur Service communications to private land-use restrictions. Craigie told the SMs that the grassroots campaign supporting HR 1301 needs more letters.
“We have been told quite bluntly by some Congressional offices that they want letters from constituents — that they will be interested in what the ARRL has to say only if they know that voters care about this issue,” Craigie said in urging Section Managers to rally the troops. “Why should the Congressman care, they ask, if the voters don’t? There are tens of thousands of ARRL members who have not written yet.” You can do a lot to persuade them to write, because they know you.”
Members are encouraged to contact their member of Congress by writing personalized, signed letters on paper, based on the sample letter, available on the ARRL HR 1301 web page. Letters should go to ARRL Headquarters for hand delivery to the appropriate House members. Send letters to ARRL, ATTN HR 1301 Grassroots Campaign, 225 Main St, Newington CT 06111.
Sending these letters via ARRL allows Headquarters staff to keep track of how many communications are going to which Congressional districts. But more important, Craigie pointed out, when letters are delivered to the Hill in person, there’s an opportunity to speak with Congressional staffers. “The stack of letters is proof that voters care about the bill,” she said. “We have to convince the staff people, so they’ll advise the Representative to co-sponsor. That’s how it works on Capitol Hill.”
Craigie further urged Section Managers to mention the bill when they speak at conventions and club meetings. Craigie urged members whose US House member already has signed on to HR 1301 as a cosponsor to call, write, or e-mail a message of appreciation. “Good manners, good strategy,” she said.
The League is working on having a US Senate version of HR 1301 introduced.