Legislative Visits- What to Expect
Expect a meeting thatís "short and sweet".
Fifteen minutes is the normal length of a meeting with legislators
and/or staff. Donít take it personally or as a sign that the staffer doesnít
care about your issue Ė be prepared to
make the points you want to make in that time frame. And make sure to arrive
for your meeting on time if not early!
Donít be disappointed if your appointment is with a staff person
rather than the legislator
Staff are critical members of the
legislative team, providing the legislator
with advice and information on specific issue areas, such as
health care or womenís issues. Building a strong relationship with staffers can be very
productive, especially since they may work for several legislators over time or even run for
office themselves one day!
Be prepared for anything and be gracious!
in scheduling happen, staffers get called away, offices erupt with unexpected
disruptions. If something happens, assume the best intentions and ask what
would be convenient for the individual with whom you were meeting. Be mindful
that a lot of offices are very small and cannot accommodate a lot of people.
Some offices will have multiple groups showing up at the same time. Sometimes
you may end up having a meeting in the hallway or crammed into a little office.
In these cases, itís best to get straight to the point and keep the meeting
Make sure your team is clear about the points you want to cover in the
meeting and who will speak to each point.
sure constituents (this will probably be YOU!) get to talk, but remember that
every person in the meeting does not have to speak to every point being
discussed. Be clear, be concise, be compelling, and donít forget to go for the
ďask!Ē For example, ďDo you think that you can support a bill to remove
physician supervision for CNMs in California?Ē
Be ready to step up or step back.
Legislative visits are most effective when
several different people share their perspectives on an issue. No one person or
organization should dominate the conversation. Think about whether you are
someone who usually talks a lot or someone who doesnít talk at all Ė and be
prepared to step Up or step Back as needed to make sure everyone gets to
Say thank you.
forget to express appreciation for taking the time to meet with you! After the
meeting, send a hand written note of thanks with contact information for any
follow up questions.