Tips For Contacting Your Legislator
- Always tell them where you live. Being a constituent is important. If you are not a constituent and you have family/friends who are, tell the legislator that, or better yet, ask your friends and family to call!
- Be clear, but concise, Legislators will have about one minute before they get distracted.
- If you are speaking directly with your legislator, ask them “ Will you support this bill?” A “maybe” or an “I’ll try” is not a yes. Only a yes is a yes, so ask them why they won’t support it.
- Make it personal with as much detailed information as you can. Names and ages of children, street where you live, etc. are always helpful to bring the issue to a personal level. If you are writing, consider sending a picture to personalize the issue.
- Remember, they work for you. They are regular people just like you and there is no need to be intimidated.
- Follow up within three days of your initial contact by phone stating you wanted to be sure he/she received your communication and are eager to discuss the matter with them.
Tips for contacting your legislator inside the Capitol and/or the Legislative Office Building (Hartford):
- Legislative offices are located in the Legislative Office Building not the Capitol. Depending upon the seniority of your legislator, their office could be located n a committee office, in the offices of the Senate Democrats or Republicans. Committee offices are located on floors one through four. Senate offices are located on the third floor and House offices are on the fourth floor. (Don’t hesitate to ask at the information desk!)
- When you locate their office, ask if your legislator is available. If they are not available, their legislative aide might be able to discuss your issues with you. They take notes and report back to the legislator. If no one is available, you can leave a “walk in” message with your name, where you live, date and time of your visit, and, most important, the purpose of your visit. These messages are an important part of the process. Your legislator will know that you took the time to visit them in Hartford and should take your issue seriously.
- When the House or Senate are in session, there is a different protocol for locating and speaking with your legislator. For the House, you are able to stand outside the House chamber on the second floor of the capitol and “pass a note” to your legislator through legislative staff requesting them to come out and speak with you. They usually come out unless there is an important bill being debated. For the Senate, this is not possible. You can, hwoever, stand outside their chamber on the third floor and wait for them to exit and then call them over to speak with you.
- However you choose to initiate communication with your legislator, always remember they work for you. You have every right to be in your capitol building speaking with your legislator.
- Be clear but concise. Legislators will have about one minute before they get distracted.
- If you do not speak directly with your legislator and choose to leave a “walk in” message, follow up within three days of your initial contact by telephone stating you wanted to be sure that he/she received your message and that you are eager to discuss the matter with them.