Meeting in-person with your elected officials is an elective way to talk about the issues impacting your business and profession and lay the groundwork for long-term change. Here are a few tips to help you have a productive meeting with your legislator.
DETERMINE WHO REPRESENTS YOU.
First things first… All North Carolinians are represented by United States Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis. The district in which you are registered to vote determines your representation in the United States House, North Carolina House, and North Carolina Senate. Visit the NCACPA Advocacy Action Center and use the Find Officials tool to find your lawmakers.
LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR LEGISLATORS
When you find your elected officials using the NCACPA Advocacy Action Center, click on their name. You’ll see a full profile, including a photo, contact information, social media links, personal background, committee assignments, staff contacts, and bills they introduced or co-sponsored. This key information will give you context to frame your conversation.
GET YOURSELF UP-TO-SPEED ON THE ISSUES.
If you plan to discuss a specific bill with a legislator, familiarize yourself with the legislation and where it is in the process. Using the NCACPA Bill Tracker, you can search for bills by bill number or keywords, or you can peruse the list of key legislation—organized by topic—being tracked by NCACPA. Click on the bill number and title to more information, including sponsors, bill text, summaries, and actions.
Bonus tip! If you use Twitter, search the hashtags #ncpol and #ncga to get the latest updates and breaking news on North Carolina state politics.
PREPARE BRIEF TALKING POINTS.
Brevity is key—legislators’ time is limited between committee hearings, floor votes, and meetings with other constituents and interest groups. Have 2 or 3 key points prepared, write them out beforehand, and expect to have 10-15 minutes with your legislator. Remember that personal stories with specificity leave the most lasting impression.
Always send your legislator a thank-you note (handwritten is best) within a couple of days after your meeting. This simple act provides an opportunity to restate your message and maintain the rapport built during your conversation. The connection established will be helpful when you need to call your legislator on future issues.
Volunteer to meet with your legislator! We’ll be in touch when the time comes on how you can take action. www.ncacpa.org/advocacy/key-person/.