Creating authentic, actionable connections between citizens and their elected representatives
Members of Congress and their staff make enormous efforts to represent their constituents authentically. But public servants face immense and increasing challenges to doing so: a hyper-polarized political climate, an ever-rising flood of communication, and, most worryingly, a citizenry that feels disconnected, with historically low levels of satisfaction and trust in Congress. Much of this discontent stems from the absence of avenues for citizens to participate in meaningful dialogue with their members of Congress.
Members of Congress work to stay connected, but geography, time, and limited staff resources make it very difficult. Over time, this disconnect can have dire consequences for Members of Congress, but also for democracy more broadly.
That’s what Connecting to Congress aims to address.
Engaging with constituents in order to represent them authentically is foundational to our way of governing. And our previous research was able to prove that it’s also tangibly beneficial for the individual lawmaker. But believing that a practice is helpful still doesn’t address the difficult capacity problem almost all Congressional offices face. That’s why our team of researchers and staff are bringing the resources of our institutions, our civil society partners, and our networks to bear on this effort. We believe that making this additional capacity available to Congressional offices will benefit not only the individual participating Members, but democracy as a whole—helping to forge public policy that has truly broad and deep support, and improving public faith in Congress and our democratic institutions.