How to Become a DC Policy Dork
If you’ve ever wondered how we keep track of everything that’s going on in DC, I’m happy to say it’s not too difficult to know what’s going on (of course, it can be difficult to do something about it)! There are a lot of free resources out there. Here are a few of our favorites.
Politico Playbook: https://www.politico.com/playbook
This twice-daily newsletter from the good (and smart) people at Politico will tell you everything you want to know about what your government is doing all day. If you want to take your dorkiness to the next level, try the Politico Huddle at https://www.politico.com/huddle/
This is a great place to learn about your legislators’ views as well as catch up on any of their recent statements on every policy issue under the sun!
GovTrack is excellent easy-to-use site that allows users to keep track of bills and votes, as well as the voting records of your Representatives and Senators. The site also provides some useful educational resources about Congress, the legislative process, and Committee activities. Users can set up alerts to keep up-to-date on bills of particular interest to them.
CRS Reports: https://crsreports.congress.gov/
CRS (or the Congressional Research Service) is your one-stop shop for reports CRS generates at the request of Congressional offices. They are a truly bipartisan resource to help legislators and staff understand a huge array of policy issues.
I have no doubt at all that you’ll often feel a twinge of outrage at an elected official’s support of something you think is absolutely dreadful. Before you call in a huff, do a little more research. Check out www.procon.org to be sure you know BOTH sides of the issue. Sometimes the other side is not really evil. They may just be horribly misguided. For the most part, elected officials aren’t out to get you. They just see the world in a different way.
I hope you find these resources useful as you go forth and advocate!