Get involved, along with your family, friends, neighbors, and United Way, in advocating for issues significant in your community.
A handwritten note has a huge impact. By taking the time to literally write and then mail the letter, it shows your elected official that this issue is important to you. In your letter, it is best to write about only one issue and specifically state what you are asking for. Keep it brief. Make sure to include your name and address, so there will be a record of your contact.
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- Write your Legislators here
- Sample Letter
Meet with Your Legislator or their Staff
Make sure you schedule a meeting well in advance. Create a team of consumers, family members, experts, etc. to go with you. Make sure the group has developed a theme and uses it throughout the meeting. Concentrate on personal stories and leave behind basic information. A dress rehearsal of the meeting may be beneficial. Follow-up with a thank you note and send more written information, if it was requested.
When calling, do not expect to speak to the policy-maker. Ask for the staff that works on your specific issue if the official is not available. Remember to thank them for listening.
Organize a “Telephone Tree” of committed constituents and/or an e-mail distribution list. Stay connected with local advocacy organization and/or professional association alert systems. Respond when alerted by “activating” telephone tree and e-mail list. Discuss in advance the “dos” and “don’ts” of phone calling and basics of key issues. Follow-up with members of the team to hear the results and outcome of the calls.
Committees and the governing board of agencies/departments will frequently invite the public to give testimony at hearings over specific issues. This is an excellent opportunity for you to share your story. When speaking, only discuss one issue at a time and specifically state what you want them to do. Keep it brief, around 3-5 minutes. Bring written material outlining your stance for the policymakers, and bring extra copies for their staff and any press that may be present. At the end, thank the committee and their members for their time. Follow-up by sending thank you notes to the members, and include in it the written material you distributed at the hearing.