Writing your Elected Officials
Writing a letter to an elected official is one of the easiest ways of conveying your thoughts and concerns on an issue to the people that represent us in the Legislature. Taking five minutes to write a letter does make a difference.
Calling Your Elected Officials
As a citizen, you have the right to call and express your opinion to an elected official. When the phone rings in your legislator’s office, they are obligated to answer. When the phone rings continuously at your legislator’s office regarding a specific issue, the elected official is compelled to take heed and hopefully take action. Legislators work to serve the people. They cannot do their jobs effectively if they do not hear the opinions and interests of the people, especially the citizens in their district. The following are some recommendations for placing a phone call to your elected official.
Meeting with Your Elected Officials
Meeting with an elected official is simply the face-to-face version of writing a letter or having a telephone conversation. Most legislators want to meet with citizens to hear their concerns and recommendations. You only have to be a citizen passionate about a conservation issue to get your message across, not an expert lobbyist. Because you hold the power of the vote, your opinions carry more weight than any number of lobbyists. Don’t be afraid of lobbying as it is simply expressing your opinion and trying to sway someone that your view is the correct one.
Writing an Effective Letter-to-the-Editor
The editorial page is one of the most important sections of any newspaper. More people read the “Letters to the Editor” section than many other portions of the paper. This is an ideal forum for conveying your message about conservation issues.
Calling into a Talk Radio Program
Talk radio programs are great formats for presenting your viewpoints on an issue and possibly influencing listeners and decision makers. Over 90% of talk radio listeners do not call in, which leads to a discussion that does not always reflect all sides of the issue. Talk radio programs are the prime opportunity to speak out and share our knowledge, experiences and concerns on a specific issue.
Testifying at a Public Meeting or Hearing
This is the decade of public involvement, especially at the local level. If a bill or action affects you or your organization, the process to make your message heard is easier and more important than ever.
Attending a Town Hall Meeting
A large and well-informed turnout at a town hall meeting or a community forum is an extremely effective way of sending a strong message to your elected official AND to the media (and, hence, the general public). If your lawmaker is supportive of your issue, a show of support helps to solidify his or her position.