How to Talk With Legislators

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How to Effectively Lobby Your Legislators

To be effective in your efforts of communicating your concerns and desires to your legislator, consider following the practical suggestions listed below:

KNOW YOUR LEGISLATORS.  You will be most effective by getting to know your senator and representative from YOUR district on a personal basis.  Find out which committees and subcommittees your legislators serve on.  They have much more influence over legislation within their committees' and subcommittees' jurisdiction.

KNOW THE LEGISLATION.  Just as your time is very limited, so is a legislator's.  Know the bill number and the issues.  Have your facts ready when you approach a legislator.  State your position clearly and then be available to either answer any questions the legislator may have or offer to find out the answer to any question you don't know. 

KNOW THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS.  Understand the steps that a bill goes through to become law. (Legislative Process)

BE FIRM, BUT FRIENDLY.  Do not try to force a commitment on how your legislator is going to vote.  However, when your legislator is aware of the issue and your position, it is then time to begin asking for a position.  Remember to be courteous.  KEEP IN TOUCH THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.

CONCENTRATE ON THE ISSUE, NOT THE PERSON.  Doing your homework and preparing for your conversation with your legislator will allow you to concentrate on the issue.  Even though it isn't always possible to remain in harmony with your legislator, remember that with rare exceptions, they are honest, intelligent public servants trying to represent ALL of their constituents.

LOBBY LIKE YOU RUN YOUR UNIT/FLOOR/HOSPITAL/BUSINESS.  Be cooperative.  Be realistic.  Be practical.  Never break your word...if you tell a legislator that you will do something stick to the bargain.  Continue to educate yourself regarding the legislative issues which are of concern to you.  Bills change during the process.  Sometimes you may find yourself supporting a bill and the next week opposing it because of some change.  Know where your bill is and what it looks like at all times.

DON’T TRY TO DO IT BY YOURSELF.  Work with your fellow nurses in your community and your state.  Work with and through your place of employment, your local chamber of commerce, state chamber of commerce...and of course the Oklahoma Nurses Association.

Click here to view Together Oklahoma's article,  "Seven Ways To Get Your Legislators' Attention" 

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