Priests for Life - Political Responsibility
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Guidelines for Effective Lobbying


It is customary practice for Representatives to meet with their constituents, whether in their home district or capitol office. Most legislators will accommodate a request for a meeting from constituents and actually welcome the opportunity to learn more about local concerns.

1. Make an Appointment

Call or write your Representative and request an appointment for a small group (3-5) to meet with him/her in either the district or capitol office.

Include in your group individuals who can speak authoritatively from various backgrounds, such as a health care professional, crisis pregnancy counselor, Project Rachel representative, influential member of the community, a friend of the Representative.

2. Prepare for the Meeting

Educate yourself and the group on both the issue/legislation and the Representative. Provide each member of your delegation with the following:

Representative's biography

Representative's voting record on the issue

Copy of the bill

Explanatory literature on the bill and current status

Fact sheet (with references) and supporting arguments

(This information can be obtained from your Diocesan Respect Life Coordinator or from the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment.)

The more informed you and your group are the more credible you will appear. Find out beforehand the Representative's concerns/problems with the bill in order to effectively address them during the meeting.

3. Prepare an Information Packet for the Representative

Include the bill and any additional literature which supports your position, such as factual arguments, a list of organizations in the community which support your cause, positive editorials or articles, and pertinent anecdotal stories.

4. The Meeting

3 Begin on a positive note by commenting favorably on something your Representative has done recently.

3 Let your Representative know why you requested the meeting.

3 Provide three to four persuasive arguments in your favor.

3 Give your Representative an opportunity to respond to all your points.

3 LISTEN well to what your Representative says in order to later address his/her concerns with counter arguments.

3 Summarize briefly what is in the information packet you have prepared.

3 Ask your Representative if you have his/her support.

3 If the reply is favorable, thank the Representative and let him/her know you will inform the people in the district about this.

3 If the reply is not favorable, ask the Representative what you, and the many people you are representing, can do to gain his/her support.

3 Thank the Representative.

5. Follow Up After Meeting

Send a letter thanking your Representative for taking the time to meet with you and your group. If he/she gave you his/her support, acknowledge this in the letter.

If your Representative expressed uncertainty, provide additional information which specifically addresses his/her concerns. Again, ask for support.

6. Summary

Meeting face to face with your Representative can be an enlightening and enjoyable experience. Regardless of the position he/she holds on an issue, the atmosphere should always remain congenial. You want to keep the doors of communication open for as long as the Representative holds the office.

Tips on Visiting Your Legislator

More on Political Responsibility

 

 

Priests for Life
PO Box 141172 • Staten Island, NY 10314
Tel. 888-735-3448, (718) 980-4400 • Fax 718-980-6515
mail@priestsforlife.org