The Dos and Don’ts When Connecting with Legislators
Approaching and connecting with legislators may appear to be a daunting or scary task, but keep in mind; these individuals are in office for you. Legislators need your help to ensure they know the issues that are important to their constituents. Consider the following dos and don’ts when connecting and promoting food and nutrition issues to your legislators.
Do the research; make sure you come prepared to have a clear and specific discussion on the issue at hand.
Do try and relate conversations to situations or “goings on” as they relate to the legislator’s constituents, show and make relevant why the issue is important.
Do share your expertise and knowledge, as a registered dietitian on the issue.
Do be pleasant and polite; spend time developing a genuine relationship with your legislators and staff members.
Do thank them for their time and follow up.
Don’t overload them with too many issues or information, be concise keeping to 3-5 points you would like them to walk away knowing.
Don’t attack, confront, pressure or beg. Conflict closes communication!
Don’t make promises you cannot deliver.
Don’t be afraid to take a stand on the issue, but make sure you understand the issue, sides and that everyone is entitles to their own viewpoint on the issue.
Don’t be offended if your legislator is personally unable to meet with you or answers your requests, their staff members are just as valuable! Keep trying, and don’t quit advocating!