Part of every legislator’s job is to listen to people voice their opinions about topics that concern Missouri citizens. People should not shy away from contacting their legislators, who do need (and want) to hear from their constituency, even if it’s about a matter on which they disagree.
Here’s some basic advice on contacting your legislator:
- JUST DO IT: There are many reasons why people don’t contact their legislators. They think their call or visit doesn’t matter, or lawmakers are “too busy” or have already heard from other on the subject. Legislators really appreciate hearing from people in their district, and appreciate that they take the time to contact their representatives. So……call, write, or visit!
- LOOK FOR DIFFERENT WAYS TO REACH OUT: Not everyone feels comfortable with face-to-face meetings or public testimony. But that’s important! Even if it isn’t well-polished, it shows sincerity. Sending written letters or emails is good, but phone calls and personal visits are even better.
- DO YOUR HOMEWORK: Putting effort into researching the topic is important, but don’t expect to know every nuance. However, it IS important that you know the bill number when you are asking a legislator to vote for or against a particular proposed item. (When in doubt, contact Missouri Citizens for the Arts for info about any particular bills that impact the arts—-our Legislative Consultant is always informed and ready to assist you!).
- ADVOCATE, EVEN AGAINST THE ODDS: Those who express their support for a bill stuck in committee are still going to make an impact. Don’t hesitate to contact people on your side of the issue. There’s nothing more potent for a legislators than being about to say, “I am hearing from people in my district and they want us to vote on this.”