advocate is someone who feels strongly enough about an issue to devote the
time and energy needed to do something about it. To be an effective advocate,
you have to build support for your position and share your concerns with your
elected officials. By working together, we have the power to make a difference.
techniques are the same whether you advocate for your issue in your neighborhood,
city, state, or in Washington, D.C. Participate and get involved! When advocating
for an issue, it is important to be persistent. With hard work and the support
of others, your goals can be achieved. Remember, every law on the books is
a result of the work of committed citizens!
officials are impressed when constituents (voters in their states/districts)
take the time to express their views on an issue. There are many ways to reach
legislators. You can visit them in person, write letters, attend public hearings,
make phone calls, send faxes or e-mails. Each has specific advantages.
Visiting Your Legislator
will probably meet with staff, not the legislator.
others who support your position on the issue.
will only have 15-20 minutes to discuss your issue.
prompt for your appointment (5 minutes early is best).
appropriately. ÿ Know your issues (you will be the expert).
the staff and/or legislator a chance to ask questions. By
listening, you will learn specific concerns that you need to address in
follow-up calls or later in the meeting.
yourself, be courteous, tell the truth, be positive.
to do research and data collection.
commitments and dependability.
openly criticize a legislator; the same goes for staff, organizations and
"thank you" often.
When Writing Letters, Faxes and E-mails
Address the communication properly. The legislator's name should be preceded
with "The Honorable...."
yourself ‹ if you are writing on behalf of an organization, make sure you
mention the name of the organization and your connection to the organization.
Make sure your name, address and phone number are on the letter (envelopes
are frequently discarded).
your own words ‹ telling a personal story that shows how the issue would
affect you, your family, neighbors and/or community sends a powerful message.
specific and keep it short.
for a response. If you do not receive one, follow up!
a thank you note if the legislator takes a favorable action on your behalf
or provides you with the information you requested.
not threaten or insult ‹ this is the best way to lose the legislator's support.
not give up ‹ if the legislator/staff does not agree with you on one issue,
you still may need their support on another issue.
When Placing a Telephone Call to your Legislator
Make a few notes about the key points you want to communicate.
the call by giving your name, where you live, and why you are calling.
specific on the reason ‹ a vote for a specific bill; oppose an amendment?
sure to ask your friends, neighbors, colleagues and others who support your
position on the issue to also make calls. A flood of last ‹ minute calls
has been known to change a legislator's vote.
sure to make a note of the time, date, to whom you spoke and the result
of the call-you will need this information for follow-up and/or thank you
House of Representatives
1700 W. Washington
Phoenix, AZ 85007-2890
Phoenix, AZ 85007-2890
© 2001 Hozhoni Foundation, Inc.