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Your Congress Reps Are Hearing a Lot More From You Lately

Most Chicago-area offices have seen an uptick in contacts since the election. Here’s what people are calling about, and how best to reach your representative.

Thousands of protesters rallied in Downtown Chicago after Donald Trump was elected President. Since then, local politicians have seen an uptick in contact from constituents.   Photo: Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune

Whether it’s to hang on to federal benefits, oppose a Cabinet appointment, or support a proposed law, ever since the election, social media has been full of pleas to contact your Congresspeople.

Has it been working? Much like donations to Planned Parenthood and subscriptions to the New York Times, calls to Chicago-area national politicians have been on the rise, according to Congressional staffers.

“Constituent calls and emails have increased since the election, including a noticeable rise in mass campaigns via telephone,” says Tara Vales, a staffer for Mike Quigley (D-5th).

Chicago contacted the 13 U.S. Congresspeople (11 from the House of Representatives, two Senators) who represent the Chicago metro area to find out what their constituents have been saying. (See below for a full list as well as preferred modes of contact at each office.)

Eight Congressional offices reported seeing an uptick of feedback from constituents since the election (two were newly elected and had no point of comparison). Most offices declined to quantify the increase, but according Robin Kelly (D-2nd), she is receiving 800 to 1,000 weekly communications from constituents—up from about 200 a week before the election.

“On just the first day of this Congress, we saw constituent calls and emails stop the Republicans from gutting our ethics office. We know that this pressure works and we need to keep it up,” Kelly says.

The most commonly mentioned topic was healthcare and/or the Affordable Care Act, with six offices reporting calls from constituents around these issues. The next was President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet appointments (five offices), the Republicans’ attempt to gut the ethics watchdog and immigration concerns (three each), and veterans’ benefits, public schools, and public housing (two each). Offices also received calls from constituents concerned about Social Security benefits, Planned Parenthood funding, science funding, housing access, education, organized labor, voting rights, and equal rights for women, LGBTQ, and people of color.

The sole Republican in the group, Peter Roskam (R-6th), has also seen increased contact after the election. According to staffer David Pasch, the office received 700 requests for tickets to the Presidential inauguration, and each representative only gets 198.

Several staffers mentioned that the emails/calls they’ve received have been canned responses promoted by special interest groups or other activists who are mobilizing people via social media and other means. “Coordinated phone calls and emails tend to come from outside the district,” says Rep. Danny Davis (D-7th).

One staffer, Doug Rivlin with Luis Gutierrez’s office (D-4th), cautions people to do their research before calling. "A lot of times, people call us to ask him to support something that he already supports… It’s a waste of our time and a waste of their time,” says Rivlin.

Gutierrez’s office has seen about a 50 percent increase in appointments with constituents, Rivlin says, and the conversations tend to be about issues directly impacting their families rather than new administration officials.

Below, we compiled the best way for you to reach your representative, according to their staffers. You can find out your Congressional district here.

Tammy Duckworth

Democrat, Senate
How to Contact: Email

Dick Durbin

Democrat, Senate
How to Contact: Phone (312-353-4952)

Bobby L. Rush

Democrat, House of Representatives (1st District)
How to Contact: Phone (773-779-2400) or stop by the office (11740 S. Western Ave.)

Robin Kelly

Democrat, House of Representatives (2nd District)
How to Contact: Phone (773-321-2001), email, or social media

Daniel Lipinski

Democrat, House of Representatives (3rd District)
How to Contact: Email

Luis Gutierrez

Democrat, House of Representatives (4th District)
How to Contact: Email

Mike Quigley

Democrat, House of Representatives (5th District)
How to Contact: Email is fastest, but phone calls (773-267-5926 or 773-267-5926) are closely monitored, too

Peter Roskam

Republican, House of Representatives (6th District)
How to Contact:  Email

Danny K. Davis

Democrat, House of Representatives (7th District)
How to Contact: No preferred method, but Davis himself picked up the phone when we called (773-533-7520)

Raja Krishnamoorthi

Democrat, House of Representatives (8th District)
How to Contact: Phone (847-413-1959) and website; he promises to be responsive on social media, too

Jan Schakowsky

Democrat, House of Representatives (9th District)
How to Contact: Phone (773-506-7100), letters, or email

Brad Schneider

Democrat, House of Representatives (10th District)
How to Contact: Phone (202-225-4835) or email

Bill Foster

Democrat, House of Representatives (11th District)
How to Contact: Phone or in person (2711 E. New York St., Aurora, 630-585-7672; 195 Springfield Ave., Joliet, 815-280-5876)

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