Friday, February 17, 2017

Highlights | INDIVISIBLE Recess Planning Town Halls Live Meeting

If you’re planning to attend a Town Hall during the Congressional Recess next week (Feb. 19 – 26), be sure to check out Indivisible’s Reclaim Recess Toolkit, where you’ll find a helpful video guide and reports on how to hold a successful town hall, sample constituent questions, and actions plans for ACA, SCOTUS, and the Executive Order targeting Muslims and Refugees.

Highlights of the meeting:

Constituents should speak at town halls on topics that matter most to them. But our victories in changing the narrative against this “existential threat” point to the power of applying the same pressure at the same time.  With that in mind, Indivisible suggest that at next week’s town halls, constituents make three defensive “asks”—ACA, Gorsich, and the Muslim/Refugee order—plus an offensive ask regarding the need for POTUS to release his tax returns.

Indivisible recommends that local groups assemble in a prearranged location a bit before the town hall begins in order to review their strategy. (Watch for details from INCO about our pre-town hall gathering.) At this time, leaders will remind everyone to sit in pairs or very small groups, to maintain a posture of respect that reflects our values, and to frame questions in ways that press for information and action. It’s good for individuals to offer their stories and concerns to the press at the end of the town hall, but there should be one designated press person to speak on behalf of Indivisible, should those questions arise. (Press inquiries about INCO should be directed to Laurie Caplan or Deb Vanasse).

Reportedly, over 200 MoCs are avoiding town halls next week because they don’t want to face their constituents. (Estimated only 50% are holding town halls, while 100 % are holding fundraisers next week). In response to this, local groups should organize their own town halls, invite their MoC and tell the press they’ve done so, and when the MoC doesn’t show up, have a cardboard cutout and/or empty chair to highlight that fact. Have backup speakers and let the story in the press be how the MoC wouldn’t face constituents. There’s a resource in the Recess Toolkit for taking such action.

Some MoC staffers are refusing to share information with constituents about when and where town halls are scheduled. There’s a crowdsourced tool with this information—Town Hall Project.

Tele-town halls are a joke. Don’t let reps get away with it. Greg Walden (OR-2) did this recently—4,000 on the call and he took 10 questions, most likely preselected to be favorable rather than confrontational. Stage a live town hall as described above.

Even if you agree with your MoC on most issues, remember the power of both the carrot and the stick.

Ask pointed questions such as “How many people in our district are covered by ACA insurance?” Don’t allow them to dismiss you as “paid” plants or any other such nonsense. Remember that they work for you.

There are now over 7,000 local groups registered with Indivisible.
Individuals are encouraged to email their personal stories on issues such as ACA to

Local groups are strongly encouraged to reach out to independents and Republicans who are alarmed by the Trump agenda. Defending democracy is not a partisan issue.

Local groups are encouraged to continue to build out, with the goal of diversity. An attack on one is an attack on all.

We’re making a difference. We’ll never have 100% success, but we’re in this for the long haul.