If you've ever tried to submit comment to your congressional representatives or get their help with an issue, you know it can a little tricky. If you can't physically walk into their offices or have trouble getting the ear of the right person, you may never get your problem where it can be seen.
And that assumes you have an actual problem. What if you just want to make sure your representatives know how you feel about the topics that impact you most, like deployments, employment and military moves?
Enter the annual Blue Star Families survey. In its tenth year (10 years? How?) the annual military family lifestyle survey gathers information from a huge swath of the military community. The results are presented in a report to Congress.
As a journalist I've seen the impact it has. When Blue Star Families officials say policy makers and others use the results of the survey in researching issues or making decisions, they aren't kidding.
I cannot even tell you how many times I've received press releases or heard lawmakers speak referencing findings that I know were in the report. Officials have come to rely on this annual data refresh.
Blue Star Families officials said last year over 7,800 people took the survey. The more people who take it, the bigger impact it will have.
They say taking the survey will likely take between 30 and 35 minutes. They've got questions in there on deployment, wellness, education, employment, military kids, finances, health civics and more. (No one can claim it isn't thorough!) They also suggest you complete it on an actual computer vs. mobile.
The survey is open through late May.