By Ann G. Daniels

Sorry, animal lovers, but although this particular action sounds like a trip to the dog park, we’re really asking you to get a different kind of exercise: tracking down your Members of Congress, other electeds, and candidates, and getting them on the record.

Amazingly, ordinary folks can often get elected representatives and candidates to commit to positions in ways that even the press can’t, by using a little persistence and showing up at public events. After all: they represent YOU – or they want to – and they love being seen talking to their public. Do a little homework, and you can turn a cute photo-op into a serious opportunity to get them on the record!

What birddogging can do:

  • Push our elected representatives to take action or get them to take a stance
  • Confront our electeds on issues where we disagree with them
  • Get candidates on the record on issues they’re dodging
  • Inspire others in your community to get out and take action!

The great thing about birddogging is that there are plenty of roles for folks to fill: the researcher behind the scenes, the people willing to ask the questions, the folks who record the encounters on video, the social media mavens … so whatever you’re good at, there’s a place for you on a birddog team.

Indivisible East Bay has a great team that’s been birddogging Representative Eric Swalwell. Watch how it’s done, as IEB’s CA-15 team co-lead Ward Kanowsky pushes Rep. Swalwell on the timing of the impeachment inquiry at the October 1, 2019 Union City Impeachment Town Hall with Rep. Swalwell and special guest John Dean; video by CA-15 team co-lead LeAnn Kanowsky.


What you can do:

  • Check out Indivisible National’s excellent guide for how to get started.
  • Keep up with your elected representatives’ or target candidates’ schedule of public appearances:
    • If you’re in the East Bay: the Indivisible East Bay newsletter has an extensive events calendar including town halls and other public appearances. Also, IEB’s Slack has teams for state representatives and Members of Congress (House and Senate). If you’re on our Slack, look for:
      • ad_team_15
      • moc_team_ca11
      • moc_team_ca13
      • moc_team_ca15
      • moc_team_feinstein
      • moc_team_harris
        Or if you’re not on our Slack, email us at for an invitation.
    • If you’re not in the East Bay: you and a formal or informal group can birddog your member of Congress or state representatives, or you can choose a candidate to target. Search their websites and call their district office/local campaign office to ask about upcoming public events. See Indivisible National’s Town Hall Guide for really helpful tips.
    • No matter where you live: follow your Members of Congress and targeted candidates on Facebook and/or Twitter, and sign up for their email newsletters.


Photo and video of Rep. Swalwell and Ward Kanowksy by LeAnn Kanowsky

Ann G. Daniels’ checkered professional background includes practicing law, reproductive rights advocacy, creating web content for nonprofits and educational organizations, and teaching adult and family literacy. She also designs jewelry, teaches knitting, and sings second soprano.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.