Effective Communication w State Legislators
FOUR EFFECTIVE WAYS TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR STATE LEGISLATORS
A great resource to FIND OUT WHO your legislators are and their contact information:
These Legislators will be in their home town (unless campaigning) until the beginning of the Legislative session in January and will have more time to meet with you before the session starts. Then many stay in Boise during our 4 month Legislative session and are very busy at that this time.
During the legislative session, HFI will send out Action Alerts requesting you contact your representative on proposed legislation. This will often involve a quick phone call or simple email. This shouldn’t be the only time you are in contact with your legislator. Taking time to develop a relationship with your elected official off season will allow you the opportunity develop an open line of communication based on mutual respect.
Personal letters that state your views on how the proposed legislation will affect your profession, family, or community are the individual’s basic communications tools. Timing of such communication is vital. The Legislative session begins in January for four months. Click here for more hints on effective written communications.
When speed is desirable because of imminent action on a piece of legislation, emails may be sent to a legislator. Tips to emailing the Idaho Legislator. We include copy paste lists for ease of use.
Several hints for phone contact with your legislator can be found in the “How To Phone” your legislator document. In addition, here are a few quick notes to keep in mind. This form of communication is particularly effective when the person making the call worked in the campaign of the legislator or has established a personal relationship with the legislator. Direct contact with the legislator is not always possible, but messages can be left with aides or secretaries. It would not be appropriate to use this communication method exclusively.
Meeting with Legislators
The most effective communication, naturally, is that which takes place face to face. You should plan to meet with your legislator as frequently as possible. Opportunities for such meetings come between sessions and during recesses. 12 tips for face-to-face meetings with legislators.
At campaign time, incumbents are generally eager to meet with groups of constituents. These meetings must be planned with care or else they will become merely platforms for political speeches by the Representative or Senator. To guard against this, tell the legislator that the purpose of the meeting is to give constituents the opportunity to express their views on legislation and to ask specific major issues. It may be helpful to get together beforehand and role-play these sessions to gain understanding of the issues and dynamics of the parties involved.
Meetings with newly elected Representatives and Senators and re-elected incumbents are particularly desirable. Such meetings should be held as soon as convenient after the November elections.
In addition to personal or small group meetings with your legislators, you may want to plan at least one meeting a year at which the legislator meets with a larger group. Here again the meeting should be structured to give constituents the opportunity to ask meaningful questions on which they have been briefed.
EFFECTIVE ACTION ALERT COMMUNICATION ON SPECIFIC LEGISLATION
Below are some resources to help you become an effective citizen lobbyist: