Outreach Project : CALIFORNIA 13


Swing District Project

Representative John Duarte (CA-13) won his election by a mere 564 votes (50.2% to 49.8%) in poor voter turnout. He campaigned against water regulations, a key Central Valley issue. He focuses on family farms but omits that it is Big Ag’s water consumption driving the need for regulation. His Twitter feed portrays him as wanting to work with both Democrats and Republicans to improve life for his constituents, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck. Many district residents commute to the Bay Area for work, but live locally where they can afford a home. Cuts to Medicare and Social Security would have a huge impact on constituents, yet he did vote to support the new House Rules package, which included “required mandatory economic legislation to be paired with spending cuts.” Duarte is a staunch supporter of Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

House website: https://duarte.house.gov/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/repjohnduarte
Twitter: @RepDuarteCA13 
Instagram: repjohnduarte 
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@RepJohnDuarte

District Office(s): 
90 S. First Street
Turlock, CA 95380
Phone: (209) 226-6880
Washington, D.C. Office:
Phone: (202) 225-1947
Email: https://duarte.house.gov/contact/

On the Record:
“We are, at some point, going to need to quit putting it on the credit card.” — Feb. 8, 2023, ABC-30 interview

Suggested Talking Points
  • I urge you to be bipartisan. Bipartisanship fosters unity and promotes the greater good. When lawmakers work together to pass legislation, it benefits all constituents, strengthening all communities. It also provides better transparency and accountability and leads to actual debate instead of pure politicking.
  • Your leadership is needed to help heal the divisiveness that is crippling our nation’s progress. Constituents look for reassurance that our needs are known, understood and addressed.
  • How might you as my representative demonstrate that you are aware of our district’s pressing needs? (Write about a specific issue/need that touches you personally, or your family, friends, community.) 
  • The debt ceiling issue requires collaboration, not finger-pointing and blaming, because defaulting on our debt cannot be an acceptable option. As I understand it, this debt is for money already spent or appropriated. The time to sort out additional funding is after the debt ceiling is raised.
  • Your constituents are ordinary, working or retired Americans who rely on various government programs, including Medicare and Social Security. When we hear those programs, and payroll for government/military employees, are in danger of financial chaos, we can’t properly plan for even daily needs. Your job is to serve us, not endanger our very livelihoods.
Sample letter
Swing District Project

Why are we asking you to write personal letters?

It would be easier if The Union provided a template or form letter and simply had you sign it. But it would be a lot less effective. 

A personal letter is better than a form letter for writing to members of Congress because it shows that you have taken the time to share your concerns in your own words. Your personal letter is authentic and comes across as more genuine than a form letter. Members of Congress get letters drafted by advocacy groups and special interest groups on a daily basis. They spot them easily. That is why letters that are produced for supporters to sign and mail are usually dismissed. 

In stark contrast, your personal letter conveys your unique perspective on how an issue affects you and your community. A personal letter includes anecdotes or specific examples that make your views more compelling and relatable to the reader.

Members of Congress get large volumes of form letters. That makes your personal letter stand out in a way that earns more attention and gets it taken seriously. Your letter creates a personal connection between you and the reader. That personal connection begins a relationship with the Congressional member that can influence his or her decision making over time. 

Writing a personal letter takes more time, but the return on your time is well worth the investment.

Email The Union: [email protected]

Take Action

Your personal stories and advocacy for good governance are what drive change. Contact your representative, share your concerns, and urge them to prioritize the needs of their constituents over partisan politics. By working together, we can hold our elected officials accountable and create a better future for all.