Use the following guidelines for placing calls in support of conflict diamonds legislation to the local offices of your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators:
Be brief, making your most important points clearly and specifically. Use a conversational tone in your presentation – don’t be defensive or argumentative.
Start by identifying yourself, mentioning store location.
State clearly that you’re calling to ask the support of Congressman X or Senator Y for a specific bill now pending.
If call is to a House member, identify the bill as the Clean Diamonds Trade Act, HR 2722. Mention it was introduced with bipartisan sponsorship August 2. Then say there is a virtually identical Senate bill, S 1084, also with bipartisan sponsorship.
If call is to a Senator’s office, identify the bill as the Clean Diamonds Act, S 1084, introduced in June with bipartisan sponsorship. Then mention there is virtually identical House bill, HR 2722, also with bipartisan sponsorship.
Then list the reasons why prompt passage of this legislation is important both to jewelry retailers and their customers:
· Conflict diamonds – exploited by rebels in parts of Africa to support their violent activities – can and should be eliminated. Consumers are entitled to know that the jewelry they purchase is free from taint.
· The proposed legislation would set up an effective and fair system to exclude conflict diamonds from the U.S. market while protecting the interests of legitimate segments of the industry both here and abroad.
· While aimed specifically at protecting the U.S. market, the legislation complements efforts now under way to establish an international system that would curb the global trade in conflict diamonds.
· This legislation has the support of Jewelers of America, the World Diamond Council, and the humanitarian organizations that belong to the Campaign to Eliminate Conflict Diamonds.
Close by saying that you hope that Congressman X or Senator Y will support this very important bill. Expect a neutral reaction – staff members are rarely in the position to make firm commitments. A favorable response is a commitment to “do the best possible.” A more likely response is that he or she will pass your feelings on to the Congressman or Senator. Mention that you will be sending a follow-up letter. Thank the staff person for their time.