Face to face with Legislators
By: Senator Avel Gordly
Jan-03

We need to see YOU in Salem

Make your point in person. Don't let decisions be made about your future without being here and voicing your perspective.

A visit to your legislator will give you a chance to have a face-to-face conversation with them to discuss issues that are important to you. Proposed budget cuts will impact our families and community. It is critical that you participate in budget discussions now underway.

Steps to take:

1. Before your visit, use the Legislative Guide to learn more about your legislator.

2. Schedule your appointment by phoning their office. To save time, schedule appointments with several legislators in one day.

3. Plan your agenda ahead of time by listing the issues you want to discuss. Write out a brief summary of your points to leave with the legislator. If you are going in a group, plan the roles of each person. Someone should take notes of the conversation.

4. Arrive on time. If you are in a group, meet in a hallway and enter together. Briefly introduce yourselves to the legislator.

5. As you present your issues, listen closely to what your legislator has to say. Be open to their questions. If you do not know the answers, offer to do some research and send more information later.

6. Ask for support for your issues. If the legislator has not taken a stand on the issue, offer to call back at a later time after they have had time to think about it. If the legislator does not support your issues, briefly restate your position and thank them for their time. Offer to send more information for their consideration.

7. Convey your gratitude to the legislator by following your meeting with a letter. Include a summary statement of your positions and offer to be a resource to the legislator. Emphasize that you will share the legislator's views with other constituents and ask to be placed on their distribution list to receive information regarding your issues.

8. Maintain your contact with the legislator. Periodically send updates to your legislator about your position.

Expectations and courtesies:

  • Make an appointment with the legislator's office whenever possible.

  • Be prepared for the possibility of a last minute cancellation or staff member substitution.

  • Be on time and stay no longer than your scheduled time.

  • Keep to the points of your agenda.

  • Be positive.

  • Avoid angry, sarcastic and blaming remarks.

  • Maintain your positive approach whether or not the legislator agrees with your positions.

  • Offer to be a resource to the legislator regarding your issues.

  • Thank the legislator for their time and support.

    Senator Gordly gave OCEANetwork permission to share the above information with our constituents. You can find the original posting at http://www.leg.state.or.us/gordly/home.htm.


  • This article is not available for reprint. Please contact the author directly for permission to reprint.

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