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Congressman Brad Sherman speaking at RespectAbility's 2019 summit. Photo Credit: Stereo Vision Photography

Rep. Brad Sherman Speaks About Congress-Constituent Relations at RespectAbility Summit

Presents Award to Reality TV Pioneer Jonathan Murray

Washington, D.C., August 17 – California Congressman Brad Sherman spoke to RespectAbility Fellows, staff and supporters as they converged on Capitol Hill for the nonprofit’s annual summit, “From Washington to Hollywood and Beyond: The Future of Americans with Disabilities.”

As the congressman for California’s 30th congressional district, he opened his remarks by talking about Los Angeles as a city.

“It is in Los Angeles where dreams are put on the screen, and where the world’s culture is coming from. And that is a culture which has for far too long stigmatized those with disabilities, and one step at a time, that will change,” he said.

He went on to discuss the relationship between a constituent and their representative, focusing on what constituents ask of their representatives and the process of meeting the constituents’ needs.

When making requests of members of Congress, Sherman advised audience members to focus on a couple of key points: “The people you’re talking to want to know two things: No. 1, what do you want me to do? And No. 2, who else wants me to do it?”

“Understanding the problem is important. But thinking of what solution makes sense and creating a coalition in support of something particular is difficult,” he added.

Sherman mentioned that he has a daughter on the autism spectrum, and that the disability community’s issues are his issues as well.

In order to get through to a member of Congress, Sherman explained that a commitment is not only necessary but required. If a representative agrees to study the issue raised, the constituent must follow up with a phone call inquiring about the member’s position. Sherman also suggested asking when the member will address the issue.

To get the desired result from a member of Congress, a constituent must do three things:

First, do your homework. Come to the meeting with a sense of the organizations supporting a course of action that could solve your problem and present it to the member of Congress.

Second, ensure you are asking the member to take a bipartisan position. Ideally, present a petition signed by constituents across the political spectrum. Point out to the representative that other colleagues in his or her party are supporting this as well.

Third, show gratitude. If the member of Congress agrees to the request, ask everyone who signed the petition to thank that member. A thank you goes a long way.

Meet the Author

Anthony Brown
Anthony Brown

Anthony Brown currently writes recruiting profiles for athletes in high schools and junior colleges across the United States for PorterMedium.com. He graduated from the University of Maryland College Park with a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature.

3 comments… add one
  • Avatar Anthony R. C. Brown, Sr. Aug 17, 2019, 12:07 pm

    Great article and very proud of this Fellow in particular (Anthony) and All of the Fellows at Respectability. You all are doing a Great job. Keep up the Great work!

  • Avatar Wendy Dews Aug 17, 2019, 1:55 pm

    GREAT ARTICLE!
    CHIP AND WENDY ENJOYED THE READ
    ON TRAVEL BACK FROM LOUISIANA

    • Avatar L RAY Aug 21, 2019, 8:43 am

      MR. BROWN, AWESOME ARTICLE! KEEP WRITING AMAZING ARTICLES FOR THE COMMUNITY TO READ! WE ARE SO IMPRESSED WITH YOUR WORK, ANTHONY BROWN!

      THE RAYS

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