Influence Policy Washington, D.C.: Join an Interest Group
Perhaps you want to do more in Washington, D.C., than make the occasional congressional cold call, but you aren’t up for devoting your whole life to becoming a Washington insider. That’s where interest groups come into play.
Interest groups are as diverse as the people they represent. Some are collections of giant corporations; others are made up of small businesspeople, or retired persons, or activists for a particular cause. By joining an interest group and paying your dues, you are essentially asking it to advocate on an issue or topic you care about, allowing you to go on living your own life.
Think of it this way: You already have one House member and two senators in Congress who, despite any disagreements you may have with them on particular policy issues, are there to (in theory) represent you.
Becoming a member of an interest group is like sending another personal representative into the debate. You already have two knights and a bishop (okay, maybe chess pieces aren’t the best analogy for politicians), and now you add a rook and maybe a few pawns.
Whereas your congressional representatives may pay little attention to the issues that concern you and may vehemently disagree with you in certain debates, you have the freedom to pick any interest group that aligns with your own point of view.