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Launched in response to the federal budget riders that include policy pronouncements for the District, the "Are You My Rep?" campaign could possibly sic hordes of D.C. residents on voting members of Congress from Delaware to Wyoming.
Anyone can enter his or her phone number on the campaign's Facebook page. D.C. residents with "202" numbers get a call back with this message.
"Do you know who your member of Congress is? Oh wait, you live in Washington, D.C. You don’t have one," a woman's voice on the recorded message says wryly when you pick up the phone.
"We want to find a representative that will look out for us in Congress," she continues. "You will be connected to a representative at random. Ask them ... if they will support D.C. voting rights."
After gently reminding the caller to be polite, the service connects him or her to the office of a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. When we tested the system here in the WAMU newsroom, our first call today was about to forward us to Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) On our second try, we were given a choice between Rep. Mike Kelley (R-Pa.) and Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.).
The campaign is the brainchild of Revolution Messaging, a D.C.-based messaging and marketing firm that has taken the recent affront to D.C.'s rights to heart.
"Like anyone else, we pay local and federal taxes, and this last budget was just too much for us," says Courtney Sieloff, a senior strategist at the company (and the voice on the "Are You My Rep" message).
Although the company usually sets up the service for paying clients, this particular campaign is pro bono. "We're doing this for fun," Sieloff says.
In addition, "we were hoping this action would call attention to this discrepancy. I don’t know that a lot of people are even aware of it," she adds.