A face-to-face meeting is one of the best ways to communicate your positions on legislative issues. You can talk with your legislator individually or in a group. There is power in numbers – setting up a session along with 3-4 like-minded individuals can help showcase stronger support for your issue.
Make an appointment
Time is always a premium in legislative offices. Contact the office schedulers to arrange an appointment at least one month in advance. Make your meeting request in writing and follow up with a phone call to the scheduler about one week later.
Do your homework
Prepare carefully and thoroughly for your meeting. Review your legislator’s past votes or statements on the issue, his or her committee assignments and party’s position. Know your talking points and be prepared to make your case. Research the opposition’s arguments and, if possible, acknowledge and rebut those points in your presentation.
Stay “on message”
Effective legislative meetings should be narrow in scope. Stick to a single issue, state only a few key points in support of your position, and make a definitive request for action. Now is the time to go local. Your effectiveness is based on geography. Legislators want to hear your thoughts and opinions because you are a constituent. One of your most useful strategies is to relate the issue and your position to your community and personal experience. Legislators have many avenues to get state analysis, reports, and statistics; what they need are anecdotal, local stories to make the statistics come alive.