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Legislative Advocacy Toolkit

The first time you meet your legislator face-to-face, you may be nervous. Keep in mind that are the expert on issues disability service providers face and that legislators are sincerely interested in getting their constituents' views on legislation.  You have important information that your legislator needs to make decisions. 

Your voice is important and should be heard!

When scheduling a meeting with your legislator, remember:

  • It is important to make an appointment, not just drop in on the legislator. 
  • It is better to telephone rather than to write for the appointment, since calling makes it easier to find an acceptable date. 
  • It is more difficult for the scheduler to turn you down by telephone than by letter. 
  • It is always more effective if you as a constituent ask for an appointment, rather than having your organization’s staff make that contact.
It is acceptable to assemble a delegation for the meeting, but remember that small meetings will allow for more detailed discussion of an issue. It is very important to appoint one person as the principal spokesperson.  Also be certain that everyone agrees on the objectives for the meeting and the points to be addressed. 

When meeting with legislators, you will want to be prepared. Include a brief description of your issue and why it is import to your organization, and the action that you want the legislator to take. Present your view with conviction, but don’t put him or her on the defensive.  If you don’t have the answer to a legislator’s question, say so. Tell the legislator you will provide the information, and then be certain that you do. Provide information, both orally and in a fact sheet that you leave with the legislator. Give a copy of the fact sheet to the legislative aide as well.

Below is a fact sheet that can be used to help educate legislators, their staff, and the community at large.  Use the fact sheet to prepare your talking points for your meeting and make to sure to leave a copy with the legislator and her/his staff when you leave. 

Save Our Services Action Alert

After the visit with your legislator write a letter of thanks.  Be sure to remind him or her of any agreements reached, and provide any information that you promised. 

Find out who represents you

Not everyone is comfortable meeting face-to-face with their legislator.  That is ok.  There are other ways you can provide information and make sure your voice is heard.

Post Card Campaign

During the 2017 Legislative session many service providers organized local post card writing campaigns. Below is a sample postcard that can be sent to legislators asking them to support the restoration and rebasing of disability service rates.

Postcard for Legislators  

Write a Letter

When writing a letter remember:

  • Open the letter with an appropriate salutation. For a Representative or Senator, “To the Honorable John Doe,” is a good way to go. Using a title here is also acceptable, “Dear Representative Jones," for example. 
  • Make sure your full name and address is on the letter itself–envelopes can get lost, and you need to be sure they can verify if you are a constituent or not and send you a response.
  • Get straight to the point. The first line of the letter should summarize why you are writing and what it is that you want Options include, “Thank you for…” “I support the passage of…” “Bill XYZ should not be allowed to pass,” etc. If it’s about a specific bill, include its official name and number if possible (ex. “USA PATRIOT Act HR 3162”).
  • Back up your concerns. Hard facts and statistics cited from a specific, published source (be sure to say where you get the information from) can support your position much better than nebulous statements and pure opinion. Personal stories are often appropriate. If you can tell a story of how this issue affects you or your family specifically, that helps to “bring it home.”
  • Always remember to be respectful. This is someone of power and influence you are addressing, and generally you are looking for them to do you a favor. Impugning your recipient’s character or honesty is counterproductive. 

Community Provider Association is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. P.O. Box 82972, Baton Rouge, LA 70884

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