How To Advocate
Advocacy starts with knowledge and is driven by passion.
Never underestimate the power of your voice. Every call, letter, email to an elected official makes a difference.
When you are communicating with elected officials make sure you are prepared.
General Tips to consider before advocating for your cause:
- Know who your representatives are and how to contact them.
- Make sure you understand the legislative process. This will help you effectively express your ideas.
- Contact your representatives about a particular issue before the Legislature takes action on it.
- Use a variety of communication methods. (call, email, letter)
- Tell your representative what effect you think a particular bill, if it becomes law, will have on you, your family, your community, or your business.
- Be concise and specific.
- Be polite, even if you disagree strongly with the representative you are addressing.
- Suggest a course of action and offer assistance.
How to write an effective letter:
- Be absolutely certain you spell your representative’s name correctly and that you use the correct address. If you don’t, you could lose your audience.
- Type or print legibly and sign your name neatly.
- Provide your address so they can respond to your letter.
- Keep letters or emails brief. Never write more than one page.
- Identify your issue at the beginning of the letter.
- Cover only one issue per letter.
- Avoid abbreviations or acronyms.
- Don’t use technical jargon.
- Always include a personal touch.
Calling or visiting your Representative:
- Plan your call or visit carefully. Keep to the point and only discuss one issue.
- Call ahead of time to schedule an appointment; don’t just drop in.
- Be polite to the receptionist or front office staff. You never know who you are speaking with and if they might be working on your issue of interest.
- Prepare a one-page fact sheet to leave with your representative.
How a Bill Becomes a Law:
Either body may originate any type of legislation; however the process differs slightly between bodies. A legislator sponsors a bill, which is referred to one or more committees related to the bill’s subject. The committee studies the bill and decides if it should be amended, pass, or fail. If passed, the bill moves to other committees of reference or to the full body. The full body then votes on the bill.
If it passes in one body, it is sent to the other body for review. A bill goes through the same process in the second body as it did in the first. A bill can go back and forth between bodies until a consensus is reached.
Advocacy 101 (Coming Soon)
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