Phone your Elected Officials
A well-timed phone call can truly make a difference when legislative decisions are being made. It is important for elected officials to hear the opinions and interests of their constituents. Many phone calls about the same issue will hopefully compel an elected official to listen and take action.
- It’s most likely that you’ll speak to a staff member rather than your elected official, so ask to speak with the staffer who deals with trail issues, which is often the Environmental Legislative Assistant. The following are some suggestions for calling your elected official’s office:
- Prepare for your phone call with an outline or script of your main points. Research the subject if necessary so that you can present a compelling case in support of the issue.
- Take a deep breath and relax. Speak slowly and clearly. Treat the phone call like a normal telephone conversation, and try not to read exactly from your notes.
- State your full name and address to show that you are a constituent.
- Be brief. Clearly and concisely state your position and make your point. Limit your call to one issue. You can make separate phone calls for other issues.
- Identify a specific bill number and its principal sponsors if applicable. If the elected official or staff person is not familiar with the legislation, provide them with a brief summary.
- Ask the elected official for his or her viewpoint on the legislation and to make a commitment to vote for or against the legislation.
- Be courteous, direct and fair. You will be more likely to get your message across by keeping your conversation clear and succinct.
- Remember to thank your elected official or their staff member for taking the time to speak with you.
- If you are unable to speak to your elected official or a staff person, leave a short message. Ask for support (or opposition) for a specific bill and have a brief statement ready to support this position.
- Follow up by sending a note to the elected official thanking him or her or their staff for their time. Briefly summarize your phone conversation in writing.
Contact Your Elected Officials
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US Senators and House of Representatives
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