PDA Code of Conduct for Congressional Office Visits
By Alan Minsky, Executive Director – Progressive Democrats of America
PDA liaisons are expected to exhibit respect, civility, and kindness towards everyone in the congressional office.
The PDA Liaison program is designed to revive the best tradition of constituents petitioning their elected representatives.
For PDA liaisons, office meetings provide an opportunity to ask their representatives to support existing Congressional legislation; and also to learn about the elected official’s own legislative priorities.
Liaisons should be prepared to make a short presentation on the merits of the legislation they support; to explain why it is beneficial to the people in the district, across the country and the world. This should all be done in the spirit of building a constructive, and mutually respectful, relationship.
Thus, even when it is clear that the elected official will not support the legislation that the PDA liaison is presenting, it is essential that the liaison refrain from being argumentative. Voices must never be raised; and a friendly,respectful demeanor should be maintained at all times.
PDA Congressional and Senate liaisons are expected to engage congressional office staff, and the elected officials themselves, with the utmost civility and respect.
A clarifying note:
The PDA liaison project will over time reveal which members of congress support progressive policies; and which do not.
To best achieve this goal, it is essential that liaison office visits be done in the spirit of classic civic engagement.
So, even when a liaison is making a presentation in the office of a conservative Democrat, the presentation should be done with the expectation that it will prove persuasive. That way we will have given it our best shot.
Come primary time, our good faith effort will provide a great sense of clarity to other constituents about where an incumbent stands on the issues; and whether they are a true progressive.
Essential to all of this is the maintenance of civility, respect, and even friendliness.