Planned Parenthood

Southern Finger Lakes

Visiting Your Representative

A visit may be the most effective way to educate your representative about the issues.

  • Make an appointment before you go. If you are lobbying on a particular bill, have the bill number ready when you make the appointment. You have a right to see your representative, so if you are being put off because the issue is controversial, keep trying.

  • Don't be discouraged if your appointment is with a legislative aide rather than the legislator. Often aides are more knowledgeable about the issues, and their informed opinions carry weight.

  • Research your representative's votes and statements on your issues before you visit.

  • Plan for a short and effective visit, and be on time. Be prepared with exactly what you want to cover.

  • Don't expect your representative to be well-informed about a particular bill. Come prepared with bill number, name, primary sponsor, and a brief description of what the legislation would do and why it is needed.

  • Give reasons for your position on the issue and try to get beyond statistics. Your goal is to help your representative connect to the issue; personal stories are often the most effective way to communicate.

  • Establish a connection with the legislator's home district, if you can. What will the impact of this bill be on the people and communities s/he represents?

  • Find out the legislator's position on your issue. Ask for a specific action: a vote for or against a bill, signing on as a co-sponsor, participation in legislative debate.

  • Bring fact sheets to back up your position and leave them behind for the aide in charge of the issue.

  • After the visit, send a thank you letter reiterating the key points of the meeting.
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Visiting Your Representative