Tips for Lobbying/Influencing Legislators
Representative Shelly Boshart Davis meets with an LBCC student Awana Black.
Oregon is a citizen Legislature. Legislators frequently have day jobs, or are retired from the work world. They uniformly want to make Oregon a better place. Communication from citizens, business, students, and the public help them make informed decisions.
Remembering the legislators are just people that have to make decisions, to do that they need information, examples, suggestions all within a limited amount of time.
The following suggestions will make communicating with a Senator or Representative more impactful and helpful in the decision making process.
In person meeting-either at the capitol, or a meeting in district.
- Call for an appointment in advance, and be on time.
- Plan for a maximum of 15 minutes, be prepared for less than 10. Be concise.
- Do your homework…know what you’re asking for-support or oppose a bill.
- Stay focused on your message-what do you want out of the meeting.
- Provide input/information/ you opinion-and why. Stories that demonstrate your point are helpful.
- Ask for their support/opposition….do they need additional information.
- Always tell the truth, if you don’t know - say so, and get back to them with the information.
- Be polite, don’t threaten, be respectful.
- Remember the Golden Rule-treat others, as you would like to be treated.
- Allow time for questions/discussion.
- Thank them for the visit.
- Follow up with a personal mailed note.
Letters are an important tool to communicate with Legislators. Legislators keep correspondence that is directed in the file with the bill the letter is addressing.
- Be clear at the top of the letter what the bill number is, or the concept that is being address.
- One topic per letter.
- Be clear, concise, and provide examples.
- Include your contact information-phone, email, etc.
- Form letters carry little weight
Emails need to be clear, brief, focused with the topic in the subject line e.g. support Senate bill XXXX.
- Many of the same rules for letters also apply with emails.
- Make your communication personal-provide facts, or specific information.
- When sending an email, do not include multiple legislators on the sent line…spam filters will frequently flag those emails. One email per legislator.
- Form emails carry little weight
- Always include your contact information in your email.