Tips for Meeting with your Legislator

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Meeting in person with your legislator is a wonderful way to cultivate a relationship, personalize your message, and ensure that your legislator knows exactly where you stand on a particular issue.

  1. Call to make an appointment and be punctual.
  2. Come prepared. Have three or four key points that you want to discuss clear in your mind.  Writing them out beforehand will help.
  3. Research your legislator's positions on your issues.  If you know where your representative stands on the issue, it will be easier to frame your arguments.
  4. Be on time.  Legislators have tight schedules.  If you cannot avoid being late, call the office to alert them.
  5. Dress appropriately.  Treat this meeting as any other that requires a professional appearance.
  6. Have written material to leave with elected officials and their staff. Make sure to include appropriate contact information.
  7. Introduce yourself as a representative or supporter of ____organization, in ___ (City, County).
  8. Be brief.  You can expect 15-20 minutes.  Use specific examples that relate to your organization, community, school, etc., e.g., state funds made this specific program possible and it reached thousands of children; this program assisted in the redevelopment of a downtown area; etc.
  9. Try to bring legislators into the conversation yourself by asking for their comments and concerns; this will give you a chance to offer your experience and assistance regarding arts-related issues and the opportunity to re-frame your request based on their concerns.
  10. Be sure to restate your request, asking specifically for their support.
  11. Whatever the outcome, be sure to thank the official and his/her assistant/s for their time.
  12. Send a thank you note as a follow-up to your visit.

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