TIPS FOR CONTACTING LAWMAKERS

Elected officials work for you, their constituents, and they should know what their constituents think. Pro-life citizens can influence public policy by urging their representatives to support pro-life bills and oppose anti-life legislation. Here are some tips for contacting elected officials through emails, letters, phone calls, or personal visits.

General tips

 

  • Know beforehand your elected official’s voting record on life issues, political history, and relationship with MCCL. You can check our Legislative Accountability Ratings or contact MCCL to obtain this information.

  • Be calm, reasonable, respectful, and politely firm. Threats (“I will vote against you!”) and open antagonism won’t work.

  • Don’t just tell your elected official how you would like him or her to vote on a particular bill. You should also give reasons for your position.

  • Press for specific commitments by asking questions such as, “Will you vote for this measure?” It is not enough for a legislator to just say “I’m pro-life” or to give vague expressions of sympathy.

  • If you don’t have the answer to a question, don’t worry. Let your lawmaker know you will get back to him or her, and then do so in a timely manner. Contact MCCL if you would like help finding the answer.

  • Whatever your contact method, one of your goals should be to establish a positive relationship with your elected official. For this reason alone, every contact is worthwhile.

  • Always thank elected officials for their time, even when they don’t vote pro-life.

  • Please forward a copy of your communication—and the response you receive from your legislator—to MCCL. If you visited or phoned him or her, write up a summary, note what was said, and forward a copy to MCCL. These are helpful to our lobbying efforts.

Additional tips for visiting elected officials

 

  • Be sure to make an appointment in advance and provide a list of who will be present with you.

  • Be on time! You don’t want to keep your elected official waiting.

  • Stay on topic and avoid small talk. You’ll want to get down to business as soon as you can to make the most of the time you have.

  • Bring a few concise, reliable printed materials to leave with your lawmaker. You don’t want to overload him or her with information that won’t be read.

Additional tips for calling elected officials

 

  • You may ask for the elected official, but expect to leave a brief message with an assistant.

  • When leaving a message, make sure you let the assistant know who you are (include your contact information), what issue you are concerned about, and specifically what you are asking of the legislator. Ideally, these will be one sentence each.

  • Indicate if you would like a response from the elected official.

Additional tips for writing elected officials

 

  • Time is of the essence when contacting your elected official. Email is preferable, but if you decide to mail your correspondence, make sure to allow time for it to reach your legislator before commitments on issues have been made.

  • Brevity is important! You don’t need to write an essay for it to make an impact. The shorter your message, the more likely your legislator will read it personally.

  • If you are providing outside information, make sure it is concise and from a reliable source.

  • Indicate if you would like a response from the elected official, and always include your return address.


Contact the MCCL office with questions or for any additional information. We are here to help you!

 

 

 

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