Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Meeting with elected officials

Pax Christi offers a number of tips for meeting with elected officials here.
Requesting A Meeting:
Request a meeting in writing and then follow up with a phone call.

Indicate specific times that you are available to meet.

Indicate the issue or legislation to be discussed.

Specify in your written and oral communication that you are a constituent of the elected official.

Preparing For The Meeting:
Determine who will participate in the meeting. Be sure as many groups as possible who will be impacted by the legislation/issue are represented. Limit the number of participants to no more than five.

Decide what points will be emphasized, who will open the conversation and what delegation members will take the lead on each talking point.

Determine a clear goal and what action you want taken.

During the Meeting:
Be on time—elected officials run on a very tight schedule.

Be cordial. Introduce yourself and thank the official for the opportunity to meet.

Stay focused. You will have very little time to make your case so stay on topic.

Before wrapping up the meeting, ask your elected official to set a specific timeline for when he/she will make a decision about his/her position on the issue/legislation.

Thank your elected official and restate the agreed upon deadlines for his/her response.

Following The Meeting:
Send a written thank you to the elected official.

Promptly provide additional materials or information requested by the elected official.

Check back with the elected official for his/her position regarding your issue on the agreed upon deadline. If he/she has not made a decision by the stated deadline, ask the official to commit to another deadline—be friendly but persistent.

To which we add one thing. Ask your elected officials what they are doing to bring the issue to a vote. Often, elected officials may say they support a bill, but do nothing to move it through their legislative house. Do not hesitate to ask them what they are doing to help pass the legislation you support.