Congressional Republicans’ “Commitment to America” isn’t just a legislative agenda, it’s part of the broader effort to restore the voice of the people to Capitol Hill, and that involves advancements in how they communicate with their constituents.
Predating the Founding Fathers, “franking” has existed as a means to facilitate communicating matters of official government business with the public. Though reliable, direct mail simply can’t beat modern forms of communication for expedience, range, and cost-effectiveness.
To that end, members of the House Republican Conference will be rolling out a truly modern update to directly reach the people of their districts wherever they are through text messaging.
Previously, a member of Congress would apply their signature, or “frank,” to a piece of mail, and the U.S. Postal Service, funded through the annual appropriations bill, would treat that signature as postage paid. Now, digital outreach will allow House Republicans to keep constituents apprised of pending legislation, town hall meetings, or other governmental news while allowing a direct line to weigh in.
“Franked communication is a crucial way for Members of our Conference to speak directly to constituents,” House GOP Communications Director Ali Black explained. “From Franking-approved text-messaging, postcard templates, direct mail, radio scripts and digital posts. House Republicans are talking directly to Americans about the services they provide as their Representatives in the People’s House and how we are fighting to deliver results for our districts and the country.”
Newer members of Congress like Burgess Owens (Utah) have shown the capabilities of this at the onset of the 118th Congress by seeking feedback from their district on what key issue is the most pressing to them.
Until now, the capabilities of franked mail were often overlooked despite the roughly $80 million available to the House GOP. As conference members see the drastic improvements in efficacy of franked communication with new digital tools like text-messaging, the usage of these tools is expected to increase tenfold.
“Bringing the top priorities of Utahns to Washington is the highest honor of my life, and hearing from my constituents is key to achieving the democracy our Founding Fathers envisioned,” Rep. Owens said.
“Whether participating in telephone town halls, responding to digital surveys, or calling my office to share your thoughts on policies, Team Owens values your feedback and enjoys communicating with you directly,” he went on. “I take transparency, accessibility, and dependability seriously, and Team Owens will continue working hard to ensure all voices are heard.”
What’s more, because of the rate per text message compared to direct mail, this technologically revamped approach allows constituent contacts at less than one-tenth of the cost. Further, the engagement rate on digital communications – especially text messaging – is more the ten times higher than traditional direct mail.
In other words, the House Republican Caucus is eyeing potential increasing the impact of their constituent engagement by over 100 times as they head into the 2024 campaign season.
Worth noting, these messages are not the same as political mailers asking for support or seeking contributions for fundraising efforts. All messaging is limited exclusively to the members district and cannot be used for campaign related messaging or fundraising. These messages, which can be expected as little as once a month from participating members, will remain focused on best serving the will of the people.
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