There is power in numbers. If you have neighbors or others in your community who share your concern, consider going as a group. Whether you schedule an individual or group meeting, this is an opportunity to build a relationship with your legislator.
PREPARING FOR YOUR VISIT
Be prepared. Summarize your story and practice. In addition to creating a script, prepare a brief fact sheet to leave with your legislator. Your visit has two essential components — the impact you make during your conversation, and the message your legislator takes away from the visit.
- Make an appointment.
Call your legislator’s office to schedule an appointment.
- Arrive to your meeting early.
Give yourself time for unanticipated delays with traffic or parking. Arrive five minutes
prior to your meeting time and check in with your legislator’s staff. Legislators keep
tight schedules, so you may have to wait if they have unexpected hearings or
- Pick one or two topics to discuss.
Legislators may not have much background information about your concerns. Focusing on one or two topics gives you sufficient time to discuss your concerns thoroughly, provide relevant facts, and share your personal story.
- Make an “ask.”
Be clear on what you’re asking of the legislator. Is there a specific bill you’re asking them to support or oppose? Do you want them to support an issue? Are you laying the groundwork for a future ask?
- Be prepared to answer questions.
Do your homework in advance. Assess your legislator’s knowledge about a topic by visiting their web page, checking what committees they serve on, and researching any statements they’ve made about your issue or a similar issue.
- Take a picture.
Bring your camera or smartphone and ask to get a picture before you leave. Visiting with a legislator gives you two avenues for advocacy — the meeting itself, and the social media opportunity that follows. Post your picture on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to let others know you visited your legislator and how they support your issue.