A new Congress and a new Administration are in Washington — and IEEE members need to introduce ourselves to them.
Starting on 29 March, IEEE-USA will be hosting its annual Congressional Visits Day — but with a twist. Because of COVID-19, participants will not be able to travel to Washington, D.C. Instead, IEEE-USA will be arranging virtual meetings for participants with their Representatives and Senators. Meetings will be conducted via video or conference calls, depending on your legislators’ preference. (Participants in some parts of the country may also be able to hold in-person meetings in your legislators’ local offices, if you wish to do so.) For 2021, our CVD will be a Congressional virtual Visits Day, or CvVD.
While virtual meetings are not as much fun as face-to-face meetings, they can be every bit as effective. Moreover, the pandemic has made it difficult for legislators to interact with any of their constituents. Most are grateful for the opportunity to talk with voters, even if it can’t be in person. This makes virtual meetings even more valuable than normal, as they are the only way legislators can interact directly with their voters.
Plus, virtual meetings are easy and free. With no travel costs, more IEEE members should be able to participate — which is good because there are 66 new members this year, about 12% of Congress. And we need to meet with all of them.
Participants in the CvVD will be organized by IEEE-USA into teams of members with the same legislators. IEEE-USA staff will then arrange meetings with all three of your legislators, accommodating as many participants’ schedules as we can. Meetings will use IEEE video conference or teleconference technology, or your legislator’s system if he/she prefers. March 29th will be our target date to start hosting meetings, but meetings could be scheduled days or even weeks later, depending on your legislators’ schedules.
Instead of the day of training in Washington, IEEE-USA staff will host a series of training sessions online, all of which will be recorded. These sessions will teach you how to talk to legislators and about the policy issues most affecting technology professionals.
Expect your meetings to last about half an hour, a bit longer on average than in-person meetings, which is another advantage of going virtual.
All IEEE members in the United States are welcome and encouraged to register for the CvVD, including students. In politics, numbers matter. The more technologists Congress hears from the better understanding they will have of technology and the technology community.
The registration deadline for the 2021 CvVD is 1 March. For more information on CvVD and to register, visit: https://ieeeusa.org/cvd
The IEEE-USA Government Relations team hopes you all will join us.
Russ Harrison is IEEE-USA’s director of Government Relations.