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Prepare in Advance:


  • Find out if the legislator has recently been in the media, and for what reason(s).  That may tell you something about his or her current priorities.

  • Do enough research to understand the legislator’s interests, positions, and voting record on the issue you are advocating for.  Has your legislator made a comment on the issue?

  • If you are there to talk about a specific bill, be sure you know its current legislative status.  Has it been introduced?  Who supports it?  Is it likely to be voted on soon?

  • Anticipate the kinds of questions or concerns that will be raised and have clear answers ready.

  • Know your message.  Practice making your case clearly and quickly.  If it’s a busy day, your meeting may last as few as 10 minutes.  If there are several of you, work out in advance who will speak first and what they will address.  Don’t waste people’s time with long or repetitive presentations.  Not everyone may be able to speak.

  • Prepare materials to leave behind with the legislator or staff, such as fact sheets or a memo summarizing your positions.

   Make the Visit Count:

  • Introduce yourself and start on a positive note.  Is there a recent vote or public statement for which you can start by saying thanks?

  • State your positions, concerns, or requests clearly and directly.  Bolster your facts with personal stories about how the issue affects the legislator’s constituents and district.

  • If you don’t understand your legislator’s opinion or the legislative status of an issue, ask for an explanation.

  • If you’re not sure how to answer, say so honestly, promise to get the information quickly, and then be sure to follow through.

  • Leave several copies of your materials and contact information for yourself and your coalition members.

  • Be sure to thank the legislator and staff for spending time with you.

   Following Up:

  • Be sure to write or call legislators and staff after the visit to thank them for their time.

  • If they agreed to take any actions, remind and thank them—and offer your assistance if appropriate.

  • If you promised to get them any additional information or answers to questions, do so promptly.

  • Be sure to share any information or insights you gained from the meeting with your colleagues and coalition members and decide together if any additional follow-up is needed.

  • Maintain a relationship with people you met with by sending updates on your activities.

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