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GOVERNMENT RELATIONS

How to Be an Effective Advocate

1. Always be accurate and factual in presenting your case to elected officials. Admitting you do not know the correct answer is not a problem, but always be willing to get the correct answer in a timely manner.

2. Be sure you have a clear and concise message. It is important to remember in stating your position that there are many sides to any particular issue. Legislators respect individuals who acknowledge those differences and clearly explain how their position fits into the larger context.

3. Try to understand their problems, outlook, and goals. In addition, remember lawmakers are generally hard-working and are attempting to represent the interests of their constituents. This attitude will provide positive environment for you to advocate your position on issues of interest to you.

4. It is helpful to be a good listener. The comments made by a legislator provide good information on what follow-up may be needed concerning any particular issue. It is good for you to understand the concerns a legislator may have concerning a particular issue. This recognition does not mean you have to agree or compromise your own position.

5. Be on time for your appointment and be respectful of their time. The demands on lawmakers time are significant. Being organized will assist you in getting your message across regardless of time constraints.

6. It is effective to have a one-page fact sheet to leave with the legislator following your meeting. Be sure to put your name and group you are a part of so after your meeting is over the legislator will know who presented them with this information.

7. Be sure to thank the legislator for their time.