Visiting Your Representative
Meeting in person with an elected official (or his or her staff member) is a very effective way to convey a message about a specific issue. Below are some suggestions to consider when planning a visit to your official, whether in your district or at a state office in Austin.
Before the Meeting You Should
- Plan carefully. Be clear about what you want to achieve and remember that your representative probably splits time between district and state offices. If you cannot meet with your representative, identify the staff member you need to meet to achieve your purpose.
- Make an appointment by contacting the representative’s office. Explain your purpose and why you want to meet. It is easier for staff members to arrange a meeting if they know what you wish to discuss and your relationship to the area or interests represented by the member.
At the Meeting You Should
- Be on time for your appointment, be patient and keep the meeting reasonably brief. Because of a legislator’s crowded schedule (particularly during a legislative session), it is not uncommon for him or her to be late or for a meeting to be interrupted.
- Be prepared. Whenever possible, bring to the meeting information and materials supporting your position. It is helpful to provide information and examples that demonstrate clearly the impact or benefits associated with a particular issue or piece of legislation.
- Stick to one subject. Don’t dilute your main point by discussing multiple issues.
- Be political. Officials want to represent the best interests of their district. Wherever possible, demonstrate the connection between what you are requesting and the interests of his or her constituents.
- Follow up the meeting with a written “thank you” that outlines the different points you covered during the meeting. If addition information and materials are requested, include this with your “thank you.”