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Four ways to lobby your elected official

Four ways to lobby your elected official and make your voice heard:

  1. Letter writing:  Writing to a public official does make a difference.  They know that every person who writes represents many others who feel the same but don’t write.  Here are a few tips to be most effective:
  • Be clear about what you want, listing the bill, etc.
  • Tell a story or example to make the issue real.
  • Ask for a direct response with his or her position.
  • Personal letters are much better than form letters or petitions.
  1. Visits: Every citizen has the right to seek a meeting with their legislator, councilperson, or other elected representative.  These tips will help make visits effective:
  • Keep your group small (4-5 people)
  • Make your group diverse.
  • Discuss in advance how to handle the meeting.
  • Be direct but not threatening
  • Know your facts.
  1. Phone Call:
  • Identify yourself by name, address, home town and phone number
  • Briefly state your position on the bill and how you would like your legislator to vote.
  • Ask for their position or view of the bill.  Volunteer to forward further information.
  • Be prepared to speak with their secretary or aide and have your position relayed.  Cultivate ongoing relationships with these staff people.
  • *This may be too much information for the 800 in-session numbers which will need a very concise message.
  1.  E-mail
  • Because of the ease in which e-mail may be sent by anyone from anywhere in the world, it is difficult to gauge it’s effectiveness. Additionally, different people use e-mail differently. If you know an individual uses it extensively, it may be a sufficient way to communicate. Keep in mind, however, the less personal a lobbying effort is the less effective it will be, and e-mail is the least personal way to contact a legislator.
  • -Follow the rules for writing a letter.
  • -Make sure you clearly identify yourself with a real world address.
  • -Try to include the issue and your position in the subject line. Even if they don’t read the message they will see this information.
  • -If possible send your message with a reply receipt. This will let you know if they have opened it and if you need to make contact in another way.

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