Trout Unlimited Guide to Town Hall Meetings

Starting this week, Congress takes a break and Senators and Representatives will be heading back home to meet with local constituents during Congress’ annual April recess. Many will hold public events for constituents — known as Town Hall meetings.

To find out when and where your member of Congress will hold town hall meetings, you can contact the district or state office of your representative and senators or check the Town Hall Finder map, below.

  • Find your representative and contact info, here.
  • Check out this national map to find a town hall meeting near you.

What is a town hall meeting?

“Town hall” meetings provide an excellent opportunity for local constituents to meet with their Members of Congress in a direct and personal fashion. Most members of Congress will host town hall (or similar) gatherings several times a year to hear the concerns of those they represent, and to report updates from Washington D.C. Generally, the legislator will open the floor to questions from participants. This face-to-face access provides an excellent opportunity to ask about the Member’s stance on legislation or policies of importance to you and Trout Unlimited.

Benefits and Outcomes of Town Hall Meetings

Town hall meetings are a useful tool for policy-makers because they provide a direct mode of communication with their constituents. Similarly, these events provide constituents the opportunity to inform and educate their elected representatives — and other community attendants — about important issues.

Tips for the Town Hall Attendant

Pre-meeting prep:

Think about the issues that are of greatest concern to you and consider what makes those issues so compelling and important to the people in your region. Take some time to learn as much as possible about your own topic — this will help you speak confidently, from an informed position.

Limit yourself to a single question, and prepare it well in advance of the meeting. Be sure to speak clearly, and with professionalism. Identify yourself, and establish your connection to Trout Unlimited. Be courteous and respectful no matter how different your views may be from your elected official or others at the event.

Coordinate with your fellow Trout Unlimited members and Staff:

It is likely that other TU staff or volunteers will be attending the same event, or will have a shared connection to advocacy on issues of concern to you. If you are planning to attend a town hall, consider reaching out to your local TU chapter or council or other TU staff in the area to coordinate.

Key Messages for TU priorities:

  • Clean Water: Share how important clean water and healthy streams are to you. Urge your representative to defend clean water protections and urge them to reject efforts to cut funding or roll-back protections that help keep our waters healthy. Read more here about current threats to Clean Water.
  • Public Lands: Keep public lands in public hands and urge your representatives to reject attempts to transfer ownership or management of federal lands. Read more about TU’s effort to keep public lands public.
I love and value America’s public lands and waters. What will you do to make sure they’re protected from oil and gas drilling, mining and other destructive practices?
  • Conservation Funding: Ask your Senator or Representative to support strong funding for federal resource agencies and programs that support restoration work in your area and around the country. Read more here about the current threats to Conservation Funding.
  • National Monuments: The Antiquities Act was signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt as a way to conserve resources on public lands as national monuments. Let your Senator or Representative know it is important to keep this law available for future use when and where appropriate and that weakening the law or repealing national monuments jeopardizes public lands and undermines Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy. Check out TU’s “Monuments 101” to read more about national monuments and why they are important to sportsmen and women.
Check out the report — National Monuments: a Sportsmen’s Perspective

After the Meeting:

After the meeting, coordinate with your fellow TU members and local staff to determine opportunities for follow-up.

Tell us how it went! We will feature stories covering some of the best takeaways in a future “best of towns halls” series.

Need additional help or have a question about a specific issue?

For questions or to share your story of participating in a local town hall event, contact the TU Government Affairs team at takeaction@tu.org.

Other Ways to Stand Up with Trout Unlimited

Reach out — get in touch and get engaged

  • Contact your local chapter to help plan or join a restoration project in a watershed near you, reach out to your state council to find out ways you might engage with state-level advocacy on topics important to trout and salmon, or reach out to TU Volunteer Operations Staff for help connecting with your local or state TU resources or locating other tools to help you engage locally;
  • Check out TU’s new “Project Finder” to see what might be underway in your area.
  • Contact the TU Government Affairs team to see what’s cooking in Congress.

Stand Up — Take Action with TU

  • Check out TU’s Advocacy Center at standup.tu.org to see what current campaigns are underway or to learn more about getting involved in advocacy work on behalf of Trout Unlimited.
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