Effective ways to communicate with your legislator
Sending email via the speak out page
Click on the button below OR go to www.aafp.org. Click on Speak Out under the “Policy & Advocacy” section. Choose “OK” (Oklahoma) from the drop down menu in the “State Officials” section then click “GO”. Choose the Take Action button in the “Action Alert!” box for each preposted letter you wish to send your legislators. Enter your name at the end of the letter. Enter your contact information on the right side of the page and click Send Message. You will receive a confirmation showing who received your message.
Placing effective telephone calls
You will often find that as bills move through the legislative process, there simply isn’t enough time to write your legislators prior to a key vote. When you need to get in touch with your legislator immediately to let him know of your position on health-related issues, your telephone calls become the most effective means for you to communicate your views. Below are several tips for you to refer to when placing your calls:
Identify yourself as a Constituent!
As someone who lives and votes in the district or state, your phone calls carry the most weight. Calls to representatives outside your district or state are helpful as well, however, be sure to contact your legislators first.
State your point quickly and clearly!
Be sure to limit your telephone call to one subject. Be brief but specific. Your phone call should last only a few minutes. Let them know why you’re calling, giving a bill number if possible. REMEMBER: Always be courteous!
By far, the most effective way to articulate your views to your elected official and to affect the outcome of legislation is to sit down and speak with your lawmakers face-to-face. While these personal visits are extremely productive, they also require the most amount of planning to ensure success. When planning a personal visit, refer to the following guidelines:
Schedule an Appointment: Elected officials have extremely hectic schedules. To ensure that you will have time allotted for you to speak directly with your legislator, call in advance to set up an appointment.
Get On The “Invite List” And Attend the Meetings: Write your lawmakers and ask to be put on the invitation list for the lawmaker’s town meetings. If they do not have such a list, ask for information on the next meeting. When you receive word that a town meeting is scheduled, be sure to make plans to attend, and share this information with other physicians in your area and the OAFP staff.
Prepare Questions Ahead Of Time: Have specific questions in mind, e.g., ask for your legislator’s position on a specific bill or issue, e.g., Medicare/Medicaid issues, H.R. XXX, or S. YYY.
Get An Answer: Ask your question clearly, and as simply as possible. If your legislator hems and haws and doesn’t answer your question, calmly repeat the question, e.g., “Do you support xxxxxxx/Do you oppose xxxxxxx?”
Follow-Up With a Letter: Whether you had the opportunity to ask your question or not, follow up with a letter to your representative. Let him know you attended his last town meeting. Ask your question in your letter if you didn’t have an opportunity to do so at the meeting. This letter will ensure your lawmakers take you and your views seriously, and will allow for you to obtain a written response addressing your concerns!
Explain How Proposed Legislation Will Directly Affect You: Specifically cite examples that support your position.
Always Be Polite: Nothing is as detrimental to a visit with a lawmaker than rudeness, vulgarity, or threats. Even if you disagree with the position of your legislator, be courteous. Dress professionally to convey the seriousness of your visit.
Follow Up Your Visit With a Letter: Regardless of how your meeting goes, send a letter to your legislator thanking them for their time, and reiterating the points you discussed. This gesture will go a long way, and possibly allow for future meetings.
If Your Lawmaker Is Unavailable, Meet With Their Staff: Your representative may not always be available for a meeting. In such cases, try to schedule an appointment with the staffer responsible for healthcare-related issues, or a staff member who will bring your concerns to your legislator’s attention. Send a follow-up letter to the staffer you met with as well. Keep in mind many congressional staffers later run for office themselves!
Attend town meetings
Lawmakers often host town meetings in their districts to tout their achievements and solicit feedback from their constituents. Such meetings are a prime opportunity for you to ask your lawmakers to state their position on the Second Amendment for the record, in an open and public forum. Oklahoma State Legislature Home Page