At the recent Conservative Leadership Conference, sponsored by the Civitas Institute, Melody Himel Clarke, spoke to the group. she serves as Heritage Action’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator. Here’s Rob Benningfield’s take on it.
First, Heritage Foundation
President Jim DeMint, former US Senator from SC, paid a surprise visit to give opening remarks. He warned that we should not expect either Congress or the GOP to save America.
Instead, citizens need to rise up and act, hence the good work of Heritage Action’s Sentinel program. DeMint noted that the Washington establishment hates Heritage Action, but that “you’re probably part of the problem if the establishment actually likes you”.
Heritage Action, founded in 2010, focuses on Congressional accountability. Their members are called Sentinels. Becoming a Sentinel costs you nothing. If interested in joining, visit heritageaction.com/sentinel/.
The Skills Clinic mainly focused on strategies for writing letters to the editor of your local newspapers and getting them published.
First, keep your letter brief and to the point. Try not to exceed three paragraphs.
Second, “localize” your letter, i.e. show how the topic relates to your life or local community.
Third, make your letter timely. Write your letter while your topic is hot and in the spotlight/news.
Fourth, announce your qualifications, i.e. say why you should be listened to.
Fifth, use “levels of thought” to organize your message, i.e. relate your message to overarching principles most people agree with.
Sixth, feel free to write about good news too. You don’t have to only criticize. You might use a little praise for the newspaper or article writer, or gratitude to them for putting out the article, to get your letter published.
Seventh, include your name and contact information.
Eighth, coordinate with others. If more than one person writes a letter to the editor with the same point, they’re more likely to publish one of them.
Ninth, consider simultaneously sending your letter to multiple newspapers. You might consider posting it in blogs or even your HOA’s newsletter or other outlets. Consider using social media like Facebook and Twitter.
Tenth, contact the editor if he doesn’t publish your letter right away. Sometimes asking him why he didn’t publish it will goad him into doing it. At least you might get some valuable feedback.
Eleventh, cultivate supportive responses once your letter is published. Try to get friends and allies to post supportive comments to your published letter.
Heritage Action also encourages you to contact your Congressman. Sometimes tweets seem to prove more effective than letters. Don’t abandon the social media playing field to the Left. Also, request that your Congressman or Senator hold town halls. Politicians don’t hold as many town halls now that they’ve faced so much open criticism at these events, but encourage them nonetheless to have them.
To reach Melody Himel Clarke:
Melody Himel Clarke, Heritage Action’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator
(E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @heritage_action or @TheRightMelody).