Meeting with Your Elected Officials
Legislators want and need to hear from their constituents and one way to do that is by a one-on-one visit, either at the Statehouse office, at and AMCNO sponsored event or in their home districts.
By taking the time and effort to meet with a legislator, you are providing that you care a great deal about a particular issue. Most legislators and their staff members are impressed with the strength of conviction this demonstrates. Use the same tips noted above for writing and telephoning a legislator, when reviewing how to conduct an effective meeting with your legislator.
If you do plan to set up a meeting with your legislators it is best to write or call ahead to arrange for an appointment. You should list several alternative dates, the purpose of your meeting, how many individuals will be in attendance, and what group you are representing. You should be well prepared to present your case, both orally and in writing. Assume that the legislator knows few details about the issue in question when you prepare your presentation. Plan to spend about five to seven minutes briefing the legislator on the issue, providing background information, stating what the legislation will do, and giving specifics about its impact on you, your community and the rest of the lawmaker’s constituents.
Be prepared to answer any questions that might logically arise, but if needed let them know if you do not have a specific answer and that you will follow up with them with the information. In addition, try to be on time for your appointment and understand that on occasion legislators are juggling their time and may have to reschedule the meeting. Also if it is not possible to meet with the legislator directly, it is often just as effective to meet with a staff member who deals with your particular issue. Most legislators rely heavily on their staff for information and guidance on what position you take.
Immediately follow up after your meeting by sending any information you promised to provide, as well as a thank you letter recapping the important points of your meeting and the details of any required next steps. If you are interested in meeting with an area legislator as a member of the AMCNO, contact the AMCNO offices. Also, if you want to testify before a committee, you should contact the AMCNO for assistance.