|House GOP Recess Playbook Urges Outreach to Women, Millennials, Minorities|
|Joan E. Greve||Jul 31, 2013, 6:02 AM|
WASHINGTON - After finishing work Friday, members of Congress will begin their month-long summer recess, but House Republicans want to make sure their lawmakers make the most of their time off - by spending it with constituents.
But according to the House Republican Conference's 31-page August recess kit titled, "Fighting Washington for all Americans," the constituents they should be paying particular attento to are "women, Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and millennials," and to ensure that the representatives speak with "all Americans," the packet advises "meetups."
"A Meetup is a forum to ensure that the Member is engaging with all demographics in his/her district to discuss important issues facing America," says the memo, which was preceded by a note from Conference Chair Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash.
"Meetups" with women voters could help the Republican Party close the 12-point advantage President Obama held over Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney with female voters in the 2012 election.
Younger voters are also a key demographic in the GOP's recess plans. The memo suggests holding a "Millennial Health Care Forum" to help "young Americans brace for the implementation of ObamaCare and the 'rate shock' that will accompany it."
To access millennials, the representatives might also consider a "Higher Education Tour," where the House GOP Conference advises taking a "photo outside of the stadium, arena, or famous spot on campus wearing the school's colors or team gear to promote on social media."
The House GOP Conference releases "a compilation of best practices, suggestions, and event guidelines for the district work period" each year before the summer recess, wrote House GOP Conference press secretary Riva B. Litman in an email to ABC News.
In her note accompanying the 31-page packet, McMorris Rodgers writes, "This kit is a playbook to help you plan five weeks of events and supporting messaging tactics. It includes events, helpful tips, and materials to stay on offense."
Better use of social media platforms was one of the "supporting messaging tactics" advised throughout the document, including in a tips section for a hypothetical "Energy Production Facility Tour."
"Utilize the new 'Vine' app for this tour: capture snippets of the tour for a 6-second video that encapsulates the experience," it reads.
The House GOP also advised its members to pay close attention to pocketbook issues, suggesting a "Gas & Groceries Tour."
"Tour gas stations and grocery stores to discuss the rising cost of gas and groceries," the memo advises. "While touring, help constituents pump gas and bag their groceries if possible."
But the memo reminds its members to watch what they wear for this outing: "Wear clothes in which you feel comfortable doing 'hands-on' work."
Congress will reconvene Sept. 9, giving lawmakers 37 days to mingle with constituents.
"[W]e wanted to release [the kit] well in advance of August to give offices ample time to prepare their events," Litman wrote in her email. In years past, these kits were released "just a day or two before the work period."
But the kit is not yet complete. A second installment is expected to be released later this week and will focus heavily on immigration and other components of the House Republicans' jobs plan, the source said.
The second part of the kit will follow the theme of the first - fixing what's wrong with Washington.
"We know Washington is broken. It spends too much, borrows too much, and takes too much," McMorris Rodgers writes in her note at the beginning of the memo. "Our government is out of control. But every day Republicans are fighting to stop government abuse to make Washington work for all Americans."