Tips for Legislative Visits
- Know the legislators party affiliation and district counties served
- Is the legislator timed out or will he/she be running again?
- If the legislator is timed out, who is running against for that seat? Who has the best chance (look a election contributions, ask key leaders)?
- Know his/her staff names and titles
- Research the legislator’s committee assignments
- What have been the legislator’s key issues, agenda, bills sponsored, etc.
- Ask others where the legislator has stood in the past
- Review the legislators web site to see position on conservation issues
- Research personal information such as military service, work history, family, conservation involvement, hobbies (fishing, boating, etc.), club and organization affiliations, etc.
- Look at their donor list from the last campaign
- Who would be a key person to accompany (a campaign donor who is conservation minded, a key leader from their party, someone that know them well)?
- Select the best spokesperson – one who knows the issue and has a relationship with the legislator is preferable
Know the Issue:
- Get familiar with the Ocklawaha Restoration Leader Briefing Book and Advocacy Guide
- Understand the hot topics for that region, what matters to constituents in his/her counties
Conducting the Meeting
- Be brief, be brilliant
- 15-20 minutes long tops
- Ask the candidate to share their views of the subject, what are their concerns and questions
- Focus your comments on three key issues (focusing on any they bring up)
- Keep your message focused
- If multiple people attend, assign key topics to each
- Localize the issue with how it affects their district
- Use local stories
- Thank them for support on past issues
- Keep partisan politics out of the discussion
- Respect the members point of view (Thank you for sharing your concerns. I know you care about xxxx.)
- If they raise questions or concerns that you can’t answer, say that you will get the information for them and immediately follow-up
- Engage staff – give them your contacts, you want them to remember you and use you as a resource
Close the Deal
- Be ready to end with an ask, know what you want them to do
- Ask what other information they need
- Establish yourself as a resource for issues on the river
- Leave behind one pager (not a lot of information)
- Write thank you note within two weeks and summarize your position
- Post on social media if appropriate
- Report on your visit to the advocacy committee chair