Communication with Legislators

Best Practices

Fertility Within Reach has compiled a list of suggestions and tips on ways to effectively communicate with legislative representatives. If you have any questions about these, please contact us. We are here to help!                                  

2006 Advocate Shaking Hands with State Representative

 

 

In-Person Meetings

  • Introduce yourself and greet the person with a firm handshake.
  • State why you are contacting them (e.g.,supporting a bill, opposing a bill, informing them of an issue you want to bring to their attention and want them to take action on)
  • Share YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. We cannot state this enough. This is what makes the issue become real and memorable.
  • Do your homework. Come armed with FACTUAL information that you can share to support your position and bolster your credibility.
  • Tell the person with whom you are meeting that you are available for future discussions. Bring a business card with you.
  • Ask for a copy of their business card.
  • Ask permission to follow-up within a reasonable time. Then do it. Legislators and their staff members meet with hundreds of people each week. So that your request doesn’t slip through the cracks, a friendly reminder will keep its momentim going.
  • Immediately after your meeting, send a thank you note. Because mail security in government buildings is tight and therefore snail mail might get caught up in processing, we recommend sending a direct electronic message.

E-Mail or Regular Mail

  • In your opening paragraph, introduce yourself. If you are a constituent, indicate the town/precinct/etc where you live.
  • Clearly state your reason for contacting them (e.g.,supporting a bill, opposing a bill,informing them of an issue,asking them to take action, etc.
  • Include evidence-based information to support your argument.We have included numerous pieces of literature with supporting information.
  • Indicate you are available for follow-up and include your full contact information.
  • Follow-up with a phone call or reminder message.
Click here for:

Testifying at a Legislative Hearing

  • Bring enough copies of your written testimony to distribute to each committee member
  • Distribute copies of the Supportive Information which comes from this website
  • Don’t read from your letter verbatim
  • Be prepared to answer follow-up questions
  • The hearing room will likely be filled with lobbyists, legislators, and constituents ready to testify
  • Dress professionally, business casual is acceptable
  • Be prepared to wait to provide your testimony. You won’t know where your bill falls on the agenda. When signing in, you can request to go early and give a very appealing reason why.
  • It’s best to be yourself. Don’t hold back your emotions. If you break down, that makes the subject more real.

 

Tips for Follow-up with a Legislator                  

  • Make the time to say “Thank you”.  If you have communicated with a legislator or their staff, please send a note expressing your appreciation for their consideration.    This is a polite way to remind them who you are and the importance of your cause.
  • If you have children, include a photo of your child.
  • If you see a legislator in person, it is a special opportunity to bring your child to meet a legislator and say “Thanks for making my family possible”.