|NYSVMS Legislative Guide - Meeting Face-to-Face|
Meeting a legislator at his or her district office is often the most effective method of sharing your opinion. You can meet individually or as a member of a group.
Contact the legislator’s office staff to request an appointment first, as an unannounced visit will not be well received
To schedule an appointment, write a letter or send an email and then follow up with a telephone call. Include in the letter the issues you wish to discuss and be flexible about when you can meet with your legislator.
If you are unable to meet with your lawmaker, arrange to meet with a staff member who is dealing with the issue.
After your meeting, follow up with a Thank You letter restating the points made in the meeting.
General tips for meeting with your legislator in-person:
· Research the facts prior to meeting with your legislator.
· Understand the political situation in the state.
· Outline key points you wish to make during the meeting.
· Overcome objections that might be made against your position.
· If lobbying as a group, select a leader and assign each participant one issue to address in the meeting.
· Pay careful attention to the legislator’s verbal and non-verbal reactions to your presentation.
· Make issue handouts available for the legislator’s reference if he or she expresses an interest in receiving them.
· Offer to provide additional information.
· Follow up with a Thank You letter restating the points made in the meeting.
· Maintain telephone contact with the legislator’s staff.
· Ask the legislator if he will support your issue. If the legislator says no, register your disappointment and hope for agreement on the issues. Also, ask what changes would be warranted in order for him or her to support your position.
Be sure to avoid:
· Presuming the legislator knows the issues.
· Becoming argumentative with your legislator.
· Overemphasizing the positive aspects of the bill for the profession.
· Letting the discussion stray from the purpose of your meeting.
· Ignoring legislative staff.
· Hoarding information.
NYSVMS Legislative Guide Continued
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