Getting Engaged

Now that you know how, when and where to find your officials, stay in touch with them regularly on the issues that matter to you.

  • Be timely. If you're concerned about a bill that’s just already been passed or defeated, there’s probably not much the official can do. That said, don’t be shy about speaking up when he or she has done something you liked or disliked and telling them why. It’s always good to remind them that you’re paying attention.
  • Keep your communications civil, sensible and short. Your emails and letters should make your points clearly and concisely. Make sure they include a return address so the member or staffer can stay in touch with you.
  • Follow the same rules about civility and brevity when you meet officials or their staff members in person. Discuss, don’t argue. You can disagree without being disagreeable and you’ll have more success over the long haul when you do.
  • Don’t just talk, listen. If you don’t fully understand an official’s position on an issue, ask him/her or their staffs to explain and justify it. It’s tough to change anyone’s mind if you don’t understand his/her thinking.

Next step: Staying with it

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