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Working with Legislators

If there's a legislative issue of importance at the local, state, or federal level, one of the most direct and effective methods for producing change is simply to get in touch with your legislator. Although the halls of government may seem forbidding and off-limits, in reality they're accessible to everybody! This packet will give you some tips and ideas about approaching elected officials & their staff.

Writing Elected Officials

This doesn't just refer to snail mail, of course - e-mails and faxes can be just as effective, if not more so (due to their faster delivery). This packet, excerpted from Americans United, provides a number of tips on getting your message across clearly and persuasively, as well as a sample letter you can adapt to your situation (http://www.secularstudents.org/sites/default/files/Writing Your Elected Officials & Sample Letter.pdf). These ideas can be used in your personal activism, and also in the context of a letter-writing campaign!

Calling Legislators

Phone calls to elected officials are a great way to indicate your position on an issue. They greatly magnify the appearance of support for your side - generally, legislative staffers assume that for every call they receive, 20 constituents feel the same way. This packet, excerpted from Americans United, will give you some handy ideas for making quick and effective phone calls (http://www.secularstudents.org/sites/default/files/Calling Your Legislator.pdf).

Meeting With Legislators

A face-to-face meeting with public officials, also known as lobbying, is only possible when their offices are relatively close by; however, if they have authority in a particular area, are interested in your position, or are even on the fence, a personal visit can be incredibly effective at getting them to fight for your cause. This packet, excerpted from Americans United, gives you a full rundown of what to expect when meeting with public officials (http://www.secularstudents.org/sites/default/files/Meeting with Elected Officials (Or Their Staff).pdf).

We also have another packet on lobbying, which was originally found at Campusactivism.org (http://www.campusactivism.org/displayresource-127.htm).

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