Meeting With Your Legislators

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Schedule a Visit. Check your legislator's website (House or Senate) or call the office and ask to speak to the scheduler to find out how to set up a meeting. Many offices require a written request.

You may be granted a meeting with a staff member instead of the legislator – this can be just as valuable because legislators rely on their staff for issue expertise.

Prepare for the Visit. Research your legislator's record on the issue (you can look up votes here).

Plan your arguments. A friendly legislator can be thanked for their leadership and asked to do more. An undecided legislator can be swayed with compelling personal stories. A hostile legislator can be reminded that they have constituents who will be hurt by their position.

If you are going as part of a group, decide who will bring up which points.

Choose a specific request, such as asking the legislator to vote for or against a certain bill.

If possible, create one or two handouts to leave with the legislator, such as fact sheets, relevant news articles, signed petitions, or letters from constituents.

Conduct the Visit. Arrive wearing a suit, if possible. Expect some initial small talk. Introduce yourself (or your group), and explain the reason for your visit.

After you make your points, conclude with your request. Thank the official for something if at all possible.
 
Be prepared for questions, but keep returning to your central message. Stay respectful, even if the legislator disagrees with you. If you are asked for information you do not have, offer to get it. Never make things up!
 
Try to get the following information: Will the legislator support your position? If not, why not? When and how will they make a decision?
 
End on a positive note, thanking them for their time.

Follow Up. Send a thank you letter to the legislator or staffer you met with, along with any additional information you pledged to provide. 

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