- Know the Legislators in your district, and try to build a relationship with them. You can find your legislators at: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/legislatorssearch.php
- Know them by site and study their profiles. Photos are all over the Web.
- Check them out on their campaign websites, like their Facebook page and follow their Twitter accounts.
- Look up the bill and the committee where your bill will go through. http://www.scstatehouse.gov/billsearch.php
- If a similar bill, look up the vote history. Start with those that voted for the bill.
- Legislators are normal people. Elected officials, and all of their staff are more “reachable” than you may assume.
- Nothing is as persuasive and satisfying as showing up at the Capitol Building and sitting down in a legislator’s office.
- ALWAYS be courteous and invest in the staff (don’t underestimate them).
- Go together to your Senators’ offices. Always have a veteran advocate partner with you for support.
- Make an appointment! This is the big one.
- Dress for success! Wear comfortable shoes. People who look professional are more persuasive.
- Men: Wear a nice jacket, slacks and a tie, or a suit.
- Women: Wear a dress; or pants, blouse, and a jacket.
- Bring 100 business cards. Leave one at every office.
- Bring your child/patient along, especially if you have a sick child/patient who may benefit from the new law. If it’s not feasible, bring a photo with their name, age, hometown, and condition.
- Have one or two compelling facts about your child/patient and their condition.
- Bring printed material. A single page of text in a large font, with bullet points, will last longer than the vague memory of a casual chat.
- Start with “Thanks”. Show some appreciation. It sets a nice tone for the interaction, and opens anyone up to be a better listener.
- Be considerate and ask if they have time to speak.
- Have a game plan.
- Even if you don’t get the outcome from a meeting, the relationship is worth the investment.
- The ultimate goal should be to make a personal connection and gain trust. You want them to know that you are a credible, smart information source.
- Secondary goal is to request support.
- Leave a fact sheet (one page) behind.
- Take notes, including on the legislators.
- ALWAYS follow up with an email, phone call or a thank you note.
- Address any concerns or questions they may have had.
Testimony at a Committee Hearing
- In the interest of time, not everyone will speak, but there are a lot of people who care about this issue, so have them stand up.
- Be selective of personal story; it can be overwhelming.
- Keep testimony to 3-5 key points or know how much time is allotted.
- Never read your testimony. Just have bullets.