Some legislators hold regular town hall meetings with their constituents. Some are quick to schedule a face to face meeting or respond to a hand-written letter. These days there are even a bunch of legislators who will engage in discussions on social media. But one of the most common things we hear from Oklahomans is, “I tried to contact my legislator and I never heard back”
Here are three pro-tips to get a response:
Make sure you specifically ask for a response:
Call/Letter/or Email : “Hello my name is __(your name)___ and I am a constituent of ___(your legislator)___. I am calling about _____(specific issue)____ and I would like the legislator to _______. I would also like the legislator to respond to my request. Could I schedule a meeting with the legislator? (If not a meeting you could ask for an email or a letter or a call but what ever you want be specific!)
Try to make contact multiple ways (Don’t try one way once and then give up.)
Our legislators are a diverse bunch of folks, and each may have a different way they like to hear from their constituents. If you can’t get through on a call, try email. If email isn’t working, try a hand-written letter. If a calls, emails, and letters aren’t making the connection, you could just show up at their office sometime Mon-Thurs and be fairly certain to at least find their legislative assistant so you could schedule a time to talk. Don’t try one way once and then give up. Legislators are busy folks, but they need to hear from you.
Talk to other folks in your districts about what kind of response they get from your legislators.
This year Together Oklahoma has been facilitating the formation of teams in legislative districts all over the state. Together you and your team can share notes on the responses you get from your legislators and the best ways to get your specific legislator’s attention. You can join Together Oklahoma teams in your districts or you can form your own team. Sometimes a legislator may be too busy to meet with just one person, but they are willing to meet with a group. Sometimes a legislator may ignore names they don’t know, but you can catch their attention if you buddy up with someone they do know.
So before you give up, give these three things a try. If none of this works, you may need to find yourself some new legislators. But it’s worth finding out if the current legislators will listen to you first!