Citizen Lobbying Tips


Tips for Calling Your Elected Officials

  • Look for GPC ‘s email Action Alerts regarding a bill’s status.  Legislators want to hear from constituents and prefer phone calls.  Ask your friends and family to call as well.
  • Find out who your state or federal legislators are at https://openstates.org.
  • Identify the bill number and ask the legislator to support or oppose.  Keep your tone respectful and polite.
  • Tell your own story (optional).  Communicate how an issue affects you, your family and your community.
  • Avoid party politics.  Animals have friends on both sides of the aisle.
  • Express gratitude.  Thank the staffer or official for their time.
  • Call back and express polite disappointment if the lawmaker votes otherwise.  Remember, they may vote your way next time.


 
Tips for Meeting with Your Elected Officials

  • Develop a relationship with elected officials by visiting their offices once or twice per year.  Know each lawmaker’s background beforehand (e.g., occupation, committees served, community affiliations, and voting record).  Bring several other concerned citizens with the same message to the meeting.
  • Look for opportunities to attend Town Hall Meetings, Meet n Greets, and Listening Tours.  Officials are especially receptive to citizen input prior to an election.
  • Cultivate a positive relationship with legislative staff.  They are usually more accessible and can relay your comments to the lawmaker .
  • Tell lawmakers about your volunteer work in their district.  It shows your willingness to be part of the solution.
  • Utilize fact sheets and position papers from animal protection groups.  You don’t have to be a subject matter expert but the more facts you have on your side, the better.
  • Personalize your request.  Use personal examples and tell how the problem affects you, your family and your community.
  • Maintain a positive relationship with all legislators.  They may hold their office (or higher) for decades and have the ability to influence other officials.  Keep your tone respectful and polite.  Hostile or sarcastic remarks are not productive. 
  • Avoid party politics.  Animals have friends on both sides of the aisle.
  • Be flexible.  Sometimes compromise is a must.  Support legislative strategies that may save an otherwise doomed bill if the compromise is worth the reward.  Examples include the adoption of sunset provisions, grandfathering clauses, right-to-correct provisions, and grace periods.
  • Express gratitude.  Follow up your meeting with a hand written thank you note, even if the outcome was not what you expected. 

 

Look for GPC's email Action Alerts regarding a bill’s status and whether you should contact your legislator’s office by phone.


The United Voice for Animal Protection Laws