By Marita Green, Co-2nd Vice President Issues & Action
A long standing custom of local Leagues is to meet with their legislative representatives each winter. A successful visit helps to learn where the legislators stand on specific issues and to plant a seed of interest on an issue that LWV would like the representative to think about. These conversations can tell us which issues are likely to come up in the next session. A good relationship with a legislator is a worthy goal for all Leagues.
The steps to organize a successful visit start with seeing if other Leagues share the member within each county’s boundaries. Coordinate the visits so both Leagues can be involved. The reports are due in the State office by March 1, so an appointment in January or February will work out best.
There are several formats that work well. Choose the one that suits your location. You could make an appointment in the legislator’s “home office” with a few LWV members. This informal approach may yield candor and build relationships. Or you could use a luncheon as an interview opportunity with a group of legislators. Another idea is to conduct an interview at a local coffee shop/restaurant.
Interview questions and report forms are sent to local Leagues from the LWVPA office. Decide who will ask each question and who will take notes. Be sure to brush up on the issues. This is a meeting to find out their opinions, so lobbying is inappropriate. Be pleasant, cordial and nonpartisan. Ask about any issues that are very important to the legislator. If you intend to publish any report in your local Voter, be sure to clear it with them first.
Bring a membership brochure and ask them to join the League!! Follow up with a personal hand written thank you note immediately and mail it!