Contacting Your Legislators
Georgia Water Coalition members' relationships with your legislators all across the state are critical to our efforts together!
Join Protect Georgia
Protect Georgia is a collaborative effort among environmental and conservation organizations throughout the state to educate and mobilize their memberships utilizing a state-of-the-art electronic action alert system. This system provides the conservation community with a powerful means for getting their collaborative message out to elected officials, administrative decision makers, and leaders in big business and industry.
Tips for Talking With Legislators
Be clear and concise about who you are and what you want.
Prepare in advance how you want to identify yourself and your organization, and be easily identifiable using a lapel pin or sticker.
Know who you are communicating with: find out who your own legislator is and speak with them first, learn about individual legislators (background, occupation, interests, biases, the characteristics of the legislator’s district, etc.),
find out to what committees the legislator is assigned,
find out which legislators are most relevant to your issue.
Make sure you keep you information simple:
30 words or less and use personal examples & statistics
Mention any third party endorsements
use comparisons to explain, rather than technical language
repeat your message before closing
Be perceived as reasonable, likeable, someone that legislators will not want to avoid.
Be credible at all times; always provide reliable information.
Be polite at all times.
Be available to legislators or staff as a resource in your area of interest.
Timing is everything:
Don’t call legislators off the floor on untimely issues
Find out what is going on in the Chamber at the time you’re trying to see your legislator
If you can only come to the Capitol for a limited amount of time, send in a note to the floor or go by the legislator’s office and leave a note there.
Use the time when the legislature is not in session to build relationships with and educate your legislators.
Thank your legislator for their time and/or support on the issue!
Tips for Writing & Calling State Legislators
Say something nice. Legislators are people too. He/she has a difficult job. Thank them for being a public servant. State your credentials. Identify yourself as a constituent (translates into voter). Also tell what you do and what your connection with the issue at hand is – teacher, homemaker, attorney, student…etc. You have the authority that is uniquely yours. No one is a greater authority on you than you. Legislators are looking for a wide base of support for particular legislation.
State your position on a particular issue or piece of legislation. Tel why you have that position. If you are comfortable doing so, personalize your position. How are you or those you know impacted by the issue or legislation? Legislators remember personal stories.
Ask the legislator to support your position.
Be brief and keep the letter to one page.
The tips above also apply to visits and phone calls to legislators. Be courteous, clear, concise, and complete. Above all, remember that legislators are people too.
State Representative: Dear Representative _____
State Senator: Dear Senator _____
Governor: Dear Governor _____
Lt. Governor: Dear Lt. Governor _____
Speaker of the House: Dear Mr. Speaker _____
Address for all State Legislators:
The Honorable _____
Atlanta, GA 30334
Adapted from Ahead of the Curve, “Tips for writing your state or federal legislators”, 2001.