We are committed to raising the level of attention and understanding about the needs of people living with autoimmune disease. By bringing many voices together, we provide a unique opportunity to inform consumers, communities, government agencies and private organizations about healthcare policy.
Tips for Contacting Your Legislators
In-person meetings to discuss a specific issue or to introduce yourself as a constituent are the most effective means of political communication. Given a lawmaker’s busy schedule, meetings can be difficult to arrange.
Unless you already know your lawmaker, you should email, rather than phone, to request an appointment or schedule a special event. Consider the opportunity to meet with a staff aide, particularly if he or she is working closely with the lawmaker on an issue of concern to you. Try to schedule meetings with your lawmakers when they are visiting in the state or district. If the meeting is to discuss a specific issue, it is important to be thoroughly familiar with all aspects of the issue before the meeting.
After the meeting:
- Follow up with a thank you letter and review key points that were discussed.
- Follow up with a note of thanks to those staff people who helped to arrange the visit or who participated in the meeting.
- Brief the A3 policy committee on your meeting. There may be instructive points to use for follow up or for others to learn from.
Tips for Writing to Elected Officials
There is power in many voices advocating together. When thousands of single voices may go unnoticed, a coordinated, clear, understandable group message can and often does turn opinion in a desired direction.
Important Elements of a Successful Advocacy Process
- Use proper salutation. Refer to the elected official depending on the
office held. For example:
The Honorable Jane Doe
City, State Zip
Dear Senator Doe:
- Be courteous and informative. Introduce the purpose of the letter in your opening sentence. Since thousands of bills are introduced each year, it is critical that you refer to the bill by name, author and topic. If you are a constituent of the elected official you are writing to, please be sure to indicate this in your opening line. For example: I am a constituent of your district and writing to urge your support of ____.
- Focus on your message and key points. Keep the letter brief and use common terms, not jargon. Legislators may not know your technical language, so use terms they will understand. Explain the impact of the legislation on your industry, community, etc. To personalize the letter even more, you can add examples of how the legislation can potentially impact you and your family.
- Wrap it up. Recap the purpose of your letter. Restate what you request. When possible, thank the legislator for any support s/he has provided to your issues, group, etc. Offer to address any concerns and be available for follow up. Provide your contact information. Use your personal stationary or that of your business or practice. Sign the letter and send it off!