Make Your Voice Heard
You do have a voice that can help have a say in laws that govern our state and nation. The following are tips to help you communicate issues that affect you!
- Always identify yourself with your home address. This helps the legislator and their staff know you are calling from the area they serve.
- If you are writing a letter or email keep it brief and to the point. The letter should be no longer than one page and can be hand written as long as it is legible.
- If you are meeting them in person at their office always be a few minutes early, never make them wait for you.
- Describe the issue or bill that concerns you. If you know a specific bill number it is always a good idea to identify that in your discussions.
- Tell the legislator what action you would like to be taken. Do you want him or her to support or oppose the specific bill? Tell them the reasons why you want them to take this action.
- Make it personal. Explain how you, your family, friends and others around you would be affected.
- Always stick to the facts. Never tell them something that is not true or is exaggerated.
- Thank the legislator for their time in listening to you, never be disrespectful or rude. By keeping calm and sticking to the facts it keeps the lines of further communication open.
- Ask them to reply to your concerns. Listen to their response and be open to working a compromise on your issue. Many times it is not within their immediate power to make a change but they may be willing to work with you to get the change made.
- It is always proper to send a thank you or a follow up letter after you make contact with a legislator.
Most often legislators have specific days they are in the local office when they are in session. Mondays and Fridays are common days for them to be available in their home office.
- If the legislator for some reason is unavailable ask to speak to their legislative aide. The aides are able to gather the information from you and forward to the legislator. It is always good to try and develop a cordial relationship with the legislators staff as well as the legislator themselves.
- If you are meeting one to one, make sure to have some notes or talking points so you do not forget anything you want to present.
If you feel the individual contact with your local official or legislator is not making the impact you want or you feel you just want to do more, here are a few other options for making your voice heard:
- Submit a letter or article to all your local papers or use the any social media forums you can reach. Facebook, Twitter, etc. have all become very popular to get your message out.
- When you have an issue that affects you it is likely that your friends and family members will support you. Ask them to write letters in support to their legislators and local newspapers, etc.
- Many times as you are working on an issue you will find others in the community that feel the same way. Join a group already focused on the issue or become a leader of a group in your community.
“Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare,
social justice can never be attained.” — Helen Keller