|Tips for Visiting Your Legislators
By: Dorothy Karman
While you are in Salem for Apple Pie Day, you will want to visit your legislators. If you have never done it before this can be intimidating, but with a few tips and a plan, it should be lots of fun for you and your children. Legislators want to meet their constituents. They want to know what is important to you. Make an appointment to visit them on Apple Pie Day and help preserve your freedom to homeschool in Oregon.
1. Make an appointment to meet with your legislators by calling their offices today. (Find your legislators and their contact information on the Oregon State Legislature site.)
2. Ask for a short appointment – 10 to 15 minutes.
3. After you make your appointments, email Amber Smith at Amber.firstname.lastname@example.org or text her at (541) 248-7262 (an OCEANetwork volunteer) that you have appointments with your legislators (include the legislators’ names, appointment times and whether or not you are bringing apple pies). The first family to notify Amber of their legislative appointment will be the ones delivering the pie to that legislator. This allows us to make sure every legislator in Salem receives an apple pie and information about homeschooling. (One pie per Legislator. We don't want to run out of pies!)
4. Check in at the Home Educators’ Hospitality Room (Hearing Room 50 in the basement of the Capitol) to receive a packet of homeschool information for your legislator and drop off your pie. Make sure you check in at the Hospitality Room at least an hour before your appointment. (If you are coming from a long distance and are not able to bring a pie, we have volunteers who will make extras.)
5. Arrive at the legislator's office on time.
6. Introduce yourselves. Thank your legislator for seeing you. Present him or her with the apple pie and homeschool information.
7. Tell your legislator you appreciate being able to homeschool in Oregon.
8. Give him or her a few examples of why you like homeschooling, how your children have benefited, or some cool things your children have been able to do because they are home educating.
Here are some talking points you may want to use:
9. They’ll probably want to ask your children questions like “What is your favorite subject?” “What grade are you in?” (If your children are like mine, they really don’t know what grade they are in – 4th in spelling, 6th in math, and everyone from the baby on up is studying ancient Egypt.) Spend some time rehearsing with your students before you arrive.
10. Bring your camera. Have the staff take a picture of your family with your legislator. Tell him or her that you will use the picture to remind you to pray for them – and do it!
11. Leave on time. You'll be surprised how quickly 10 minutes goes. Thank him or her for seeing you.
12. Send your legislators thank you letters. Those written by the children will receive special attention. Include a copy of the picture, if you took one.
3. You are building a relationship with the person representing you and letting your legislators know that “Home Education Freedom Works!” If you have occasion to write your legislators in the future, you can remind them of your visit, thank them again for taking time to see you and tell them your position on a piece of legislation.
14. Always be polite – whether your legislator agrees with you or not. “A soft answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1) or as my grandma used to say, “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”
15. If you need more encouragement and ideas before you visit your legislators, make sure you sign up for one of the Homeschool Freedoms 101 classes offered a 9 a.m, 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. (Sign up is at the OCEANetwork table in the Galleria.)
Your visit to your legislators can be a fun event for your family and very memorable for your children and it will go a long way toward protecting your freedom to homeschool in Oregon.
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