The meetings -- held over the past 60 days in offices from Shoreline, Wash., to Palm Harbor, Fla., from Providence, R.I., to Bakersfield, Calif. -- involved hundreds of activists who urged their elected representatives and senators to support Net Neutrality in the 110th Congress. As a result several members pledged to support Net Neutrality legislation when it came to a vote in Congress.
Here are reports from SavetheInternet.com activists in the field:
Rep. Phil Hare (D-Illinois)
Rep. Hare Gets Behind Markey's Bill
Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.)
David Kaufer the founder and CEO of the Web-based start-up GreenforGood.com urged Rep. Jay Inslee (D -Wash.) "to be a strong and vocal leader." Inslee introduced Net Neutrality legislation in the House last year. He remains committed to supporting the principle, according to staffer Adam Bartz, who met with SavetheInternet.com supporters at Inslee's Shoreline office.
Andrew Pedersen, an independent recording artist, producer and distributor from Bellevue told a staffer from Rep. Inslee's office that Internet radio is essential to the marketing of independent artists across the globe. Pedersen depends on Web sales for 100 percent of his revenues. "Without Net Neutrality, these stations would not be able to afford the increased bandwidth operating costs, and I might not be able to afford my Web presence."
Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.)
SavetheInternet.com with Rep. Wilson: A Strong Supporter
Along with five other Net Neutrality supporters from Wilson's district, Maricle handed the congresswoman a handwritten note from Gov. Bill Richardson's IT Commission Chairman urging her continued support of Net Neutrality. "I believe she was duly impressed," Maricle wrote.
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Kentucky)
Rep. Yarmuth: Voting in the public interest
Rep. Henry Johnson's (D-Ga.)
Candace Apple a businesswoman from Atlanta met with Johnson's Special Assistant Carole Mumford on March 7. "We discussed free speech issues and the danger of losing internet neutrality," she reports. "As a small business owner I discussed my concerned about the impact on the vitality of small business in America if the internet were no longer a level playing field." Mumford told Apple and other activists that she had watched the SavetheInternet.com video and will alert Rep. Johnson to support the issue.
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.)
Musician Daniel Krimm from Menlo Park joined a group of six others in a meeting at the office of Net Neutrality supporter Rep. Anna Eshoo.
"I mentioned that Eshoo herself and other elected officials have a strong interest in protecting their own access to their constituents as the Internet continues to increase the availability of tools to reach constituents outside," he reported after the meeting. "We made a lot of points about common carriage, the increasing status of the Internet as an essential public utility (as various different media increasingly converge on this platform), and the need to protect market competition in the information market generally."
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)
Sen. Cantwell's office a 'cheerleader' for Neutrality
Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana)
Ross Rannells an internet software developer and instructor from Mishawaka, Indiana met on March 25 with Rep. Donnelly. "He promised to vote in support of Net Neutrality, Rannells writes. "Other supporters [at the meeting] put a human face on the issue and were able to convince him that the issue had a significant effect on the lives of his constituents." Joseph Jackmovich who was also at the Donnelly meeting reports that the representative "went so far as to promise to not let Net Neutrality die."
Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.)
Rep. Courtney Pledges Support for Net Neutrality
"I do believe that he now understands the issue, and I believe that because of our meeting he is better informed," reported insurance agent Jeff Melhorn who joined up with Smith and four others to meet with Rep. Courtney. "I recommend that if you like your Internet the way it is, please take an hour out of the day and see your congressman. It is worth it."
Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.)
Deborah Pearson from Cumming, Ga., met with Rep. Nathan Deal on Feb. 20. Mr. Deal "seemed very interested and concerned that his constituency would be adversely affected by any changes in the Internet," she reported. "I believe Mr. Deal appreciated that I took the time to see him."
Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.)
David Wass of Santa Barbara, California led a group of activists in a meeting on April 5 with Rep. Capps. "Lois said she would support Rep. Ed Markey's bill due to come out later this year," he writes. "All of those present were able to converse quite eloquently with the Congresswoman on the issue."
Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.)
"Overall very encouraging," reported Web developer Giles Hendrix about his meeting with the chief of staff from Rep. Yvette Clarke's Brooklyn office. "We each gave our specific cases, and by the end of the meeting he was explaining the issue to us."
"He listened, asked good questions, and gave everyone time to air out on the issue," wrote Brian Donohue of the Daily rEvolution Weblog. "He specifically asked that he be notified when the Markey legislation is ready to hit the floor."
Rep. David Davis (R-Tenn.)
"He was not previously aware of the Net Neutrality issue," said Carolyn Rice Dean, a small business owner from Morristown, Tenn., after her meeting with Rep. David Davis (R-Tenn.).
Rep. Davis Tells Carolyn He's Concerned about Threat to Small Businesses
Rep. Davis later mentioned the meeting during a hearing of the House Committee on Small Business. Davis said that small companies in his district had expressed fears they might go under if stuck with either stiff access fees or slower Internet access. "Help me understand [Net Neutrality]," said the congressman, "so I can explain it to my constituents."
Rep. Nancy Boyda (D-Kansas)
Kevin Siek of Topeka Kansas met on April 4 with staff from of Rep. Boyda's office. "From the conversation I would say that Boyda is at least leaning our way on Net Neutrality… I'm sure if enough of her constituents urge her to support Net Neutrality she will eventually get religion."
"Net Neutrality allows me to help grassroots organizations to organize for a variety of issues from local elections to global warming," wrote Christopher Renner of Manhattan, Kansas who also attended the meeting. "Without equal access to the Internet such fundamental democratic processes would not longer help candidates like Rep. Boyda get elected."
Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)
John Thrasher, a former entertainment retail executive from Bakersfield, told a staffer from Rep. Kevin McCarthy's office that the Net Neutrality issue "cuts across party lines and should be viewed in the interests of trying to see that competition fairness is essential on the Internet."
"Here's hoping for continued progress," he added.
Rep. Chris Carney's (D-Pa.)
On April 5, Donald Noll of Jermyn Pennsylvania joined other Net Neutrality supporters in a lively discussion with Rep. Carney's top aide before speaking with Carney himself. "The aide was very familiar with the issues and I believe we have allies here but we reminded him that we would be watching this issue closely and intended to follow up," Noll reports.
Sen. Claire McCaskill's (D-Missouri)
SavetheInternet.com at Sen McCaskill's office
Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.)
An aide to Rep. Welch told Net Neutrality supporters that he was upset that there was so much bickering among members of Congress over this issue. "I said when huge amounts of money are on the table that table manners tend to go the way of all flesh," said John Bloch, president of Onion River Community Access Media. Welch has come out in support of Net Neutrality.
Sen. Thomas Carper (D-Del.)
Branch Heller of Wilmington led a group of Net Neutrality supporters to meet with Brian J. Bushweller, the state director for Senator Carper. "We informed Brian that we wanted Senator Carper to sign on as a co-sponsor of the Dorgan-Snowe bill (S.215)," Heller reports.
"Mainly we presented two aspects: small business' lack of ability to stay competitive, and the benefit to the public of having the freedom of unfettered access to information," reports Marilyn Green, who attended the meeting with Heller. "That's it in a nutshell."
Rep. Mary Fallin (R-Okla.)
John Hoke a publisher from Oklahoma City met with Rep. Fallin's aide Denise Northrup. "We are a small family business and we would run the risk of being shut out, or at best, paying for Web recognition," Hoke reports. "[Northrup] was very receptive and said she would take the issue to Rep. Fallin. I think we had a positive impact with each of us offering a different but effective perspective."
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)
Joshua Fidel a systems administrator from Medina, Ohio led a group in an April 12 meeting with Senator Sherrod Browns (D-Ohio) deputy director, Beth Thames. "As a System Administration Manager, it's incredibly important to me that no traffic shaping is allowed to take place," Fidel reports. Fidel told the staffer that a world without Net Neutrality would "hurt Internet businesses of all sizes … and create a significant barrier to entry."
Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.)
"We had a very productive meeting. Everyone worked well together and several of us will continue to work together in the future," wrote technology instructor Andrea Miller of her meeting with representatives of Sen. Jim Webb's Richmond office.
"I explained how both large and small companies would be affected. Brian and Scott both spoke about what would change in large organizations and about the fact that the telcos are already making millions of dollars for their services. Ken explained how smaller businesses would be impacted (and how some would be eliminated). Catherine spoke to how former foster care children and current foster parents would lose group support and informational assets. Tom Wolfe explained that his law firm would certainly be able to pay whatever additional costs might be exacted, but that many of his clients would not fare so well."
Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.)
Rep. Murphy: Fighting corporate abuse
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)
Mark Page, a retired engineer from Little Compton, R.I., spent about two hours in Senator Whitehhouse's Providence office talking about Net Neutrality with the senator's state director, George Carvalho. "He came out of the meeting with a good basic understanding of what Net Neutrality is and how it affects every aspect of Internet freedom for the person on the street and as business owners."
"Mr. Carvalho learned what we wanted him to learn. There was no hesitation on the issues, everyone made their presentations with conviction. There was no doubt that the people at that meeting really cared about this issue and that it bothered some and really pissed off others. … I told Mr. Carvalho, don't let the senator not know about this issue. When this bill comes up, make sure he goes up on the Hill and votes against letting the big telecom’s take over the Internet."
Rep. Steve Kagen (D-Wis.)
"We had a reasonable assurance from the aide that Congressman Kagen would vote on the right side of the issue," reports Lon C Ponschock of Appleton, Wisconsin, who joined other activists at an April 18 meeting with Kagen's office. "I'm glad I went and I thank you and Free Press and SavetheInternet.com for doing this important work," writes Lon.
Rep. Pallone Hears from His Constituents
Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) on February 23
Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-N.Y.) on February 27
Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) on February 22
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) on February 23
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) on February 23
Rep. Henry Johnson (D-Ga.) on March 7
Rep. Jane Harman (D- Calif.) on 30-March
Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) on April 3
Rep. Gonzales With Neutrality Supporters
Rep. John Shimkus (R-Illinois) on April 4
Rep. Nick Lampson (D-Texas) on April 5
Rep. Harry Mitchell (D-Arizona) on April 11
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colorado) on April 12
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) on April 12
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) on April 13
Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio) on April 13
Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) on April 16