How To Get Your Legislator’s Attention in 2018
Happy New Year! from the crew at the West Virginia Environmental Council. For 2018, we’ve reviewed, revised, and repurposed different aspects of ECouncil. We believe that periodic review and self-reflection are always healthy and productive processes.
We have big news. We’ve hired two dynamic lobbyists to our team this year: Karan Ireland and Crystal Good. Both of them have extensive experience at the Capitol and each brings a unique style to our playbook. Karan will lead the legislative team and Crystal will be coordinating our newly enlarged initiative on Citizen Lobbying.
In days to come you’ll hear more about the changing face of ECouncil, but first let’s talk about on how important you are in taking your message directly to your legislators. Once we vote them in, most of them are done with us…until the next election. But, when it comes time to get reelected, who are they gonna call? You. The voters.
Face-to-face meetings between voters and elected officials have significant impact. Emails, calls and letters are all good, but the “hello, how do you do” handshake in their Capitol office or in their home district carries much more weight. You are not just one voter, but a member of a family of concerned voters, and a voice in your community. Can we count on you to help us maximize our impact in Charleston by making an in-person visit this session? If we want our voice to be a real power in the halls of the Capitol, then we’ve got to pack those halls with people and do so on a regular basis. WE NEED YOU!
PLANNING YOUR VISIT TO THE CAPITOL
Your day might start by carpooling with friends. We want to make your visit as easy and powerful as possible. So, starting Jan. 16th, $10 lunch vouchers for the Capitol cafeteria will be available for citizen lobbyists. And mileage reimbursement will be available on a case-by-case basis, based on the availability of funds. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more on that.
Start by texting or calling Crystal at 304.807.1137 (or email@example.com) on your way or once you get to the capitol.
At the capitol, you will meet with Karan or Crystal or a WVEC volunteer for a briefing and guidance. The Regular Legislative Session begins January 10th and ends March 10th. Our designated “citizen lobby days” are Tuesdays throughout session. If Tuesday doesn’t work for you, let us know and we will be sure to get you the support you need to make your Capitol visit successful any day of the week.
HOW TO PREPARE
Make appointments with your Senators and Delegate ahead of your visiting day. It’s no fun chasing them around the Capitol or waiting in their office for a chance to catch them. At http://www.legis.state.wv.us/ you can find a complete listing of all Delegates and Senators, their home districts, district maps and contact information. You’ll see office and home phone numbers you can use to set up in-district get-togethers.
IF YOU CAN’T MAKE IT TO CHARLESTON
Since not all folks are comfortable or able to go to the Capitol, why not meet with your legislator(s) in your home district when they’re back for the weekend…an informal brunch at some local eatery where issues can be discussed over a meal or a cup of coffee. A cordial, hometown atmosphere can set the stage for visits to the Capitol later.
January 10, Wednesday – Legislative Session begins.
Our friends at WV Rivers Coalition have developed a free webinar series to help strengthen grassroots organizations in West Virginia.
What: Volunteer Management Webinar for Grassroots Organizations
Additional trainings: Our friends in allied groups are staging citizen lobbyist trainings around the state. Dates and locations will be made available to you as soon as we receive them.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead
Water is Life…Keep It Clean