Advocacy

    Your Role in Advocacy

    The tasks and responsibilities of Legislators are many in number. These individuals are responsible for becoming knowledgeable on complex matters, often times, in a short period of time. They care about the individuals they represent and the effect legislation will have on the lives of all individuals. For this reason, Legislators work to understand and analyze discussions and proposals on a wide array of topics. And, we can help.

    Some of the most valuable information Legislators receive comes from facts presented in correspondence from individuals, like New York Alliance members, with knowledge in the field. Corresponding with Legislators is a valuable method to sharing information on issues of interest, connecting and building a relationship with your Legislator.

    How to correspond with your Legislators?

    Click on the links below to obtain contact information for the New York State Senate and Assembly members as well as the US House of Representatives and Senate.

    New York State Senate | New York State Assembly

    US House of RepresentativesUS Senate

    The following methods are ways for you to correspond with representatives:

    Write a Letter

    Letter writing is the most common form of direct communication and can be the most effective. The amount of mail received by a Legislator can sometimes assist in determining a representatives’ approach to an issue.

    If your letter pertains to a specific piece of legislation, identify the bill name and number. In your letter state your position using facts, real experiences and real stories. Keep it brief. No more than two pages with one being the preferred length. Keep your letter focused. You should provide specific recommendations.

    Always be courteous and don’t forget to identify yourself and welcome a response from your representative.

    View Sample Letter to your Legislator

    Schedule a Meeting

    Ask for the best available dates/times to meet. In some cases staff may ask you to make your request for a meeting in writing.

    Representative schedules can change unexpectedly so do not become alarmed if your meeting is with a Legislative Aide. They work closely with your Legislator and will communicate your issues and concerns.

    Tips for Your Meeting:

    • Bring along talking points to guide your conversation along with information about your organization, including your business card to share.

    • Try to keep the number of people accompanying you on your visit to a minimum to alleviate the need to find alternative meeting space.

    • Know how long the meeting will be and adhere to the timeframe.

    • Thank your Legislator and/or staff for meeting with you.

    • Always follow-up promptly with any promised materials.

    Place a Phone Call

    Identify yourself and the organization you represent. Similar to letter writing, identify bill names and numbers. Explain why you are calling. Telephone calls are often answered by the legislative staff. Ask to speak with the staff that is handling the issue that you wish to provide comment on. Have one or two talking points for your conversation. Be prepared to educate and provide real life experiences. Keep your phone conversation concise, always being polite. Keep a record of the date, name and title of the staffer you spoke with for future communications.

    Email

    While convenient for the sender, emailing could potentially be one of the least effective ways to timely connect with your legislator on crucial issues. Being a paperless society can result in high volume inboxes with spam and security filters that can take some time to process through. When using this method follow the same guidelines for writing a letter. Be sure your email subject line precisely references your issue of comment – bill names and numbers are helpful.

    Post on Social Media

    Use your Social Media accounts to contact and tag your State Legislators and Congressional representatives in New York and Washington DC. Post your objections and follow and use popular hashtags for the topic your supporting or opposing.