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Grass Roots Lobbying

Sample Phone Script

Hello, my name is _____ and I am a (freelancer, official, captioner, CART provider, etc.) in the district. May I please speak to the staff person who handles Appropriations or Education Issues for the Congressman (or Senator)?

(Reintroduce yourself to the staffer.)

I am calling today to ask Congressman _____ (or Senator _____) to support appropriations requests for court reporting programs nationwide to train reporters in the area of closed captioning. This money will be used for curriculum development, distance learning opportunities, scholarships and job placement opportunities for graduates.

Without assistance from Congress, 28 million Americans will not be able to fully and actively participate in their professional, educational and civic lives. Closed captioning offers the deaf and hard-of-hearing community the ability to get news and other vital information from live television. Closed captioning also opens up the world to the deaf and hard-of-hearing by allowing them to interact and participate in civic and personal events.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires that each year leading up to 2006, a specific number of hours of broadcast programming must be captioned. Currently, there are not enough captioners to meet the current demands due to the fact that the mandated requirements doubled as of January 2002. The percentages of captioning requirements continue to increase until finally, in 2006, all new programming must be captioned. With the increased captioning requirements of the Telecommunications Act and the growing demand for CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation), there will not be an adequate supply of realtime captioners in the future to meet the needs of the deaf and hard-of-hearing citizens and the mandates of the Telecommunications Act.

(Include a personal story here.)

I would appreciate if Congressman / Senator ____ will get back to me on this important issue. My address is _____________ and my phone is ______________. If Congressman / Senator _____ has any questions, please call me.