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Virtual Hill Day

The 2021 American Counseling Association (ACA) Virtual Hill Day will kick off with a briefing on Monday, June 7, 2021, which will include:

  • comprehensive training that will focus on advocacy in support of the counseling profession
  • an overview of the Medicare Access Improvement Act 
  • tips on conducting a successful Congressional meeting

Beginning on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, ACA will provide an opportunity for ACA members and leaders to meet with their representatives in Congress and advocate for the profession. ACA recognizes the importance of congressional leaders hearing directly from their constituents on critical issues that affect the counseling community.

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NOTE: ACA members who attend the briefing can receive a CE credit.

  • Participants have until August 31, 2021 to complete the evaluation and claim CE credit.
  • CE certificates, for 0.50 CE hours (NBCC only), will be processed and emailed to participants within two weeks after receipt of the evaluation.
  • Please use this evaluation link to claim your CE credit

Agenda

2021 Virtual Hill Day

  • Monday, June 7, 2021 – Briefing (1:00 PM – 3:30 PM)
  • Tuesday, June 8, 2021 – Volunteer Leadership Virtual Hill Meetings
  • Please Note: Member-generated Virtual Hill meetings will take place throughout the month of June to early July.

Working Agenda (all times are Eastern Standard Time)

1:00 PM – Welcome
1:15 PM – The Medicare Access Improvement Act: A New Plateau for the Counseling Community
1:50 PM – Raffle
1:55 PM to 2:05 PM – Break
2:05 PM to 2:30 PM – Chat with Congressional Staffers
2:30 PM to 3:30 PM – Government Affairs and Public Policy Team: Advocacy 101

      • Post-meeting follow up with ACA
      • Call to Action:
        • Twitter Campaign
        • ACA Action Alert

Virtual Hill Day FAQs

    • Prior to meeting with a legislator, read her or his bio and research her or his district(s), committee assignments, number of terms served, voting record, and/or position on the issue.

    • This information is available at/accessible from: congress.gov/members. Get on the e-mail lists maintained by your legislators. 

    • Follow your legislators on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube).

  • You can go to the website of your member of Congress or you can call their office in order to set up a meeting. Please be aware that your call will most likely be answered by a staffer (individuals who assist the legislator or representative during her or his term). Identify yourself as a constituent (only if you are a constituent) and ask to speak with the legislative aide assigned to the issue that you are calling about.

    1. Plan your visit. Review the legislative calendar to know when Congress is in session. That is the time when the legislators are more likely to be on Capitol Hill or at the state capital, rather than in their district. If you’re meeting during a recess period, you are more likely to meet with a staffer, who will have more time for a meeting.

    2. If possible, schedule your meeting(s) on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. You will have to make an appointment. Schedule your meeting with the legislator at least 2 or 3 weeks in advance, as their schedule fills up quickly. If she or he is not available, arrange to meet with the staffer who directly handles your issue (usually the health care staffer).

    3. Contact the appointment secretary/scheduler to schedule your meeting. Let the appointment secretary/scheduler know that you are a member of the American Counseling Association. Be sure to say the full name of the organization. Keep in mind that ACA is also the acronym for the Affordable Care Act, as well as for many other organizations.

    4. Include the purpose of your meeting request. It is easier for staff to schedule a meeting if they know what you want to discuss and your affiliation to the area of interests represented by the legislator.

  • The best platform for virtual meetings is Zoom when meeting with a legislator or congressional staffer. Some may not appear on camera. If they do appear, and you would like to record the meeting or take a picture, please ask before doing either.

    • Although meetings are now virtual, please be sure to arrive at least five minutes prior to your meeting. If you are going from meeting to meeting, make sure you have enough time between meetings to get there.

    • Be prepared. As soon as your meeting starts, be prepared to discuss your issue and your position. Be sure to highlight important details, such as how this issue affects the legislator’s district and constituents. After your meeting, be sure to email the legislator or staffer any information (one-pagers) that you have on the issue, along with your contact information. Also, share how you and/or your organization can provide expertise on the issue to the legislators.

    • Lastly, ask for a commitment on your request from your legislator or staffer.

    • If you are having virtual meetings with a larger group, get together afterward and share what you learned, including: 1) which legislators and staffers seemed supportive or unsupportive of your issue, 2) what you learned about the prospects for your bill, next steps, etc. (pro tip: create and use a one-page evaluation sheet for each meeting to help preserve that information.)

    • Follow-up. Send the legislator or the appropriate staffer a “thank you” letter by mail or email. Thank them for meeting with you and for their commitment. Stay in contact with the legislator and the staffer you spoke with.

 

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