Your advocacy efforts are an important factor in helping to shape public policy. You might, however, be reluctant to advocate on pending legislation for fear of doing something wrong — or because you get nervous around public officials. It is completely normal to feel uneasy around elected officials, as they can often appear to be larger than life. Just remember, though, that legislators are people just like you — people who want to improve life in their communities.
Meeting with your legislators face-to-face is the most effective way to get your message across — and the best time to meet with them is when the legislature is not in session and they are in their home district offices. The legislative session is a busy time for them, so they will probably not be available to take your call or meet with you in person. If a legislator is unavailable to meet with you, you can meet with their staff. Having staff members on your side can be important, as they are required to be knowledgeable about many different issues and legislators rely on the opinions of their professional staff.
Letters, phone calls, and emails are also good ways to contact your legislators — especially if made at the right time, with a sincere message. Following are some tips on contacting your legislator in person, in writing, or by phone.
A personal visit is the most effective means of communicating with a legislator as it provides you with the opportunity to build a relationship with your elected official.